Another Russian Oligarch, Dmitry Zelenov, Dies Under Mysterious Circumstances

Sergi Alexander/Getty Images for Haute Living
Sergi Alexander/Getty Images for Haute Living

Russian real estate tycoon Dmitry Zelenov passed away earlier this month after tumbling down a flight of stairs while visiting friends in the French Riviera, according to a local outlet and an independent Russian outlet.

The French newspaper Var Matin reported Sunday that Zelenov, 50, had been dining with friends in Antibes on Dec. 9 when he suddenly became unwell, falling down a flight of stairs and suffering critical head injuries. He succumbed while receiving treatment at the Hospital Pasteur in Nice.

Baza, an independent news channel on Telegram, reported that Zelenov had toppled over a railing and hit his head. Authorities informed the oligarch’s friends around 7 a.m. the following morning that he’d died without regaining consciousness.

The channel also said it was “known” that Zelenov had previously undergone vascular surgery for unspecified heart problems.

The Antibes Police Department is currently investigating Zelenov’s cause of death, according to Var Matin.

The 50-year-old was the former owner of Russian developer Don-Stroy, which constructed the 61-story Triumph Palace Tower in Moscow, one of the tallest residential structures in Europe. Before the company fell under the control of Russia’s state-owned bank VTB after succumbing to the 2008 financial crisis, Zelenov’s net worth was estimated at $1.4 billion, landing him on the Forbes list of Russian billionaires.

Zelenov is the latest in a long line of top figures in the Russian oil, gas, technology, and financial sectors to meet suspicious and untimely ends—the most recent being Anatoly Gerashchenko.

The former head of Moscow’s Aviation Institute (MAI), Gerashchenko took a mysterious fall “from a great height” at the organization’s headquarters in September. The institute’s press office called the 73-year-old’s death “the result of an accident.”

A fortnight before Gerashchenko’s death, 39-year-old Ivan Pechorin, an executive appointed by Russian President Vladimir Putin to help oversee development in the Arctic, himself took a strange fall off a moving boat off the Russian coast. And two weeks before that, Ravil Maganov, the chairman of Russia’s second-largest oil company, died after purportedly falling out of a hospital window, plummeting six stories to the ground.

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