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Chair of Russian oil company that criticized invasion dies in unclear circumstances

Energy firm says Ravil Maganov succumbed to ‘serious illness;’ media reports he plummeted from 6th-floor of Moscow’s Central Clinical Hospital; police said probing possible suicide

Chairman of the Board of Directors of Oil Company Lukoil Ravil Maganov attends an awarding ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow on November 21, 2019. (Mikhail KLIMENTYEV / SPUTNIK / AFP)
Chairman of the Board of Directors of Oil Company Lukoil Ravil Maganov attends an awarding ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow on November 21, 2019. (Mikhail KLIMENTYEV / SPUTNIK / AFP)

MOSCOW — Russian energy firm Lukoil said Thursday its chairman Ravil Maganov had passed away following a “serious illness,” after Russian media reports said he died after falling out of a hospital window.

Lukoil was one of the few major Russian companies to call for an end to fighting in Ukraine after Moscow sent its troops to the pro-Western country in February.

In a statement at the time, the Lukoil board called for an “immediate” end to the fighting, expressing its sympathy to those affected by the “tragedy.”

“We deeply regret to announce that Ravil Maganov… passed away following a serious illness,” Lukoil said on Thursday without providing further details about his death.

Several Russian media outlets had earlier reported that Maganov died after falling out of a window of the Central Clinical Hospital in Moscow.

It is often called the Kremlin Hospital because it counts Russia’s political and business elites among its patients.

“This morning Maganov fell out of a window of the Central Clinical Hospital. He died from his injuries,” Interfax news agency reported quoting an “informed” source.

According to a police source of RBC business daily, Maganov fell from the sixth-floor window of the hospital.

State news agency Tass cited an unnamed law enforcement source as saying Maganov had committed suicide and that he had been admitted to the hospital after a heart attack. The news site RBK also said police were investigating the possibility of suicide.

Reuters reported that two people who were well acquainted with Maganov described it as “highly unlikely” that he had taken his own life. However, another source told the news agency that Lukoil management believe it was a suicide, but that he had not seen any evidence or documents to back that assumption.

When Reuters asked Moscow police if they were probing the death as suspicious, the force directed them to the state’s Investigative Committe, which did not immediately comment on the case.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday that Maganov’s death was not a matter for the Kremlin.

Maganov was born in 1954. He had worked at Lukoil since 1993 and was also the company’s president. He was among the first leaders of Lukoil and, according to the company, came up with its present name.

Maganov was appointed chairman in 2020.

In its statement on Thursday, Lukoil said Maganov “immensely contributed” to the company and the Russian oil and gas sector.

It credited Maganov’s “managerial talent” with making Lukoil one of the world’s leading energy companies.

In April, Lukoil announced the resignation of its billionaire chief executive Vagit Alekperov after he was hit by UK sanctions over the Ukraine offensive.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (L) and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Oil Company Lukoil Ravil Maganov (R) pose for a photo during an awarding ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow on November 21, 2019. (Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik/AFP)

The Reuters report noted that several senior executives in Russia’s energy industry have died in unclear incidents in the months since Russia invaded its neighbor Ukraine. The US and its western allies responded with stiff sanctions that have impacted Russia’s energy and financial sectors.

A day after the February 24 invasion began Russian media reported that Gazprom executive Alexander Tyulakov was found dead in his garage near St Petersburg.

Then in April, Sergei Protosenya, a former senior manager in Novatek, Russia’s largest liquified gas producer, was found dead with his wife and daughter in a Spanish villa. Local police concluded Protosenya killed the other two and then himself.

Russian media reported in May that former Lukoil manager Alexander Subbotin had been found dead in the basement of a Moscow house.

Also in May, Vladislav Avayev, an ex-vice president of Gazprombank, along with his wife and daughter were all found dead in a Moscow apartment.

According to Reuters, Maganov often participated in meetings of Russian oil producers with the country’s energy minister to decide on policy regarding the OPEC+ group of top global oil producers.

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