A former aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin died in a Washington, D.C., hotel room from blunt force trauma to the head, the District’s medical examiner and Metropolitan Police announced Thursday.
The mystery surrounding Lesin’s death had fueled speculation that Lesin was murdered after coming to Washington to cut a deal with the FBI.
The conspiracy theories are arguably well-founded, because it wouldn’t be the first time someone who posed a political threat to Putin wound up dead under unusual circumstances.,
Lesin certainly would have had a lot to say about Putin’s inner circle—he worked with, and reportedly owed money to, some of the most powerful men in Russian media and finance. And he would have had a powerful incentive to cooperate with U.S. authorities, namely hanging onto his several mansions in Los Angeles, which potentially could have been seized. At least two of the homes are known to be occupied, respectively, by his daughter and his son, a Hollywood film producer whose star is on the rise.
Having Lesin as an informant would been a big contribution to U.S. law enforcement and intelligence. And the information that Wicker and his staff, as well as human-rights groups and journalists, dug up on Lesin may have pushed him closer to the FBI’s arms—and ultimately into the path of a killer.
Read the full story at The Daily Beat