Russian Sausage Tycoon Whose WhatsApp Account Criticized Ukraine Invasion Dies In Fall From Hotel Window

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:

Ravil Maganov, head of Russian oil giant Lukoil, fell from a window in Moscow hospital Sept. 1.
Also in September, Anatoly Gerashchenko, a scientist who had once headed the Moscow Aviation Institute, fell down a flight of stairs and was declared dead at the scene.
Ivan Pechorin, a 39-year-old oil and gas executive and expert on Arctic resources, drowned on September 10 near Cape Ignatyev in Vladivostok.
Sergey Protosenya, former head of Russian energy giant Novatek, was found dead along with his wife and daughter on April 19 in a rented villa in Spain
Vladislav Avaev, former vice president of Gazprombank was found dead along with his wife and daughter in their luxury Moscow apartment on April 18.
Billionaire Vasily Melnikov was found dead along with his wife and two sons in his Nizhny Novgorod apartment March 24. Police said they all died from stab wounds.
Oil and gas billionaire Mikhail Watford, who had changed his surname from Tolstosheya when he moved to the United Kingdom, was found dead hanged in the garage of his mansion in Surrey on Feb. 28.
Gazprom Deputy General Director Alexander Tyulyakov was found dead in a cottage near St. Petersburg on Feb. 25. Police said the oligarch had hanged himself.
In December 2021, Yegor Prosvirnin—the founder of the nationalist website Sputnik and Pogrom—died after falling out of a window of an apartment tower in Moscow.

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