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Another Russian tycoon who may have criticized the invasion of Ukraine has died under mysterious circumstances.
Sausage magnate and politician Pavel Antov, who last summer denied being critical of the Kremlin, was found dead Sunday at a hotel in Rayagada, in India’s eastern state of Odisha, after apparently falling from a window. Antov, who was worth an estimated $140 million and was celebrating his 65th birthday, died just two days after a friend who had accompanied him died.
Russian media reported that Antov’s pal, Vladimir Budanov, died of a stroke at the hotel on Friday. Odisha Police Superintendent Vivekananda Sharma said Antov “was depressed after [Budanov’s] death and he too died.” An official from the Russian consul in nearby Kolkata reportedly told the Tass news agency police do not suspect criminal activity.
Russian sausage tycoon Pavel Antov dies in Indian hotel fall https://t.co/2S6vPM18ab
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) December 27, 2022
But Odisha police official Sunil Kumar Bansal told the National Herald of India both cases are under investigation. He said Antov may have accidentally fallen or committed suicide, but that police are also looking into other possibilities.
“We have registered an unnatural death case and are conducting an investigation,” he said. “The post-mortem has been done. The Russian authority in Kolkata is in touch with us. We are extending all support they want in this case.”
In June, Antov, a local politician in the city of Vladimir, where he owns a meat processing plant, denied criticizing the invasion after a message appeared on his WhatsApp account. Antov appeared to respond to a Russian missile attack in Kyiv, writing, “It’s extremely difficult to call all this anything but terror.”
Shortly afterward, the message was deleted and Antov insisted he was a “patriot of my country” and supported the war. He claimed the message had been written by someone else and accidentally posted.
Antov is the latest of several high-profile Russian businessmen who have died under mysterious circumstances since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in February. Newsweek has kept track of the most prominent deaths: