Alexander Perepilichnyy, a Russian business mogul who blew the whistle on a $230 million Russian money laundering scheme and who died of suspected poisoning in 2012, was assassinated on the orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin or someone in Putin’s inner circle — and the British government may be helping to cover it up, according to an explosive new investigative report by BuzzFeed News published on Monday.
BuzzFeed, for the first time, tracked down a 22-year-old Ukranian woman living in Paris who, the report says, was with Perepilichnyy for two days in a French hotel — including the same day that the Russian businessman checked out, returned to England and died.
Perepilichnyy was living in the English town of Weybridge, Surrey, where he died on November 10, 2012, after collapsing during a jog near his luxury mansion in a gated community there. An autopsy reportedly found traces of poison from the deadly plant Gelsemium elegans, also known as “Heartbreak Grass,” in his stomach.
However, last week a British police inquest concluded that there was “no evidence” to indicate that the 44-year-old, married father of two was poisoned, according to a report by the BBC.
Monday’s BuzzFeed investigative report, however, revealed that top United States intelligence officials received “high grade” reports from their counterparts in the United Kingdom leading the to believe that not only was the whistleblower assassinated, he was killed “on direct orders from Putin or people close to him.” The U.S. intelligence officials told BuzzFeed that the British police investigation into Perepilichnyy’s death had been “botched.”
Read the entire BuzzFeed News investigative report, “Poison in the System,” by visiting this link.
Alexander Perepilichnyy inquest: Whistleblower took out £8m insurance https://t.co/HaKYXbd7dA
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) June 8, 2017
“A highly classified report on Russian state assassinations compiled for the U.S. Congress by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence last year asserts with ‘high confidence’ that Perepilichnyy’s murder was sanctioned by President Putin,” BuzzFeed reported.
“French police are treating the financier’s death as a suspected organized assassination — but say they have been repeatedly stonewalled by their British counterparts,” the bombshell report says.
Perepilichnyy had, according to a BBC report, served as a whistleblower for the investment firm Hermitage Capital, whose Moscow offices were raided by Russian authorities in 2007. Russian criminals then illegally seized control of three Hermitage-owned companies and used them as part of a massive tax-fraud scheme that took $220 million from the Russian treasury in illicit tax refunds.
A lawyer working for Hermitage in Russia investigating the tax fraud case, Sergei Magnitsky, was arrested by Russian authorities and in 2009, he died after being tortured and beaten in prison. But the Russian government claimed that Magnitsky died of natural causes.
Also, earlier this year, Nikolai Gorokhov — a lawyer also involved in the Hermitage investigation — suddenly fell out of the fourth-floor window of his Moscow apartment, just days before he was due to testify in a Moscow court about new evidence in the case. Gorokhov survived the fall but suffered serious head trauma. Russian authorities claimed that he had slipped while attempting to move a bathtub.
BuzzFeed tracked down a 22-year-old self-described fashion designer, Elmira Medynska (pictured in a photo from her Instagram page, above), in Paris, and found that neither French nor British police had ever interviewed her despite the fact that French police — who blamed a lack of cooperation by British law enforcement for their failure to interview Medynska — identified her as “very important” and “one of the last persons to have seen Mr. Perepilichnyy alive.”
According to French police records cited by BuzzFeed, Perepilichnyy and the woman who was literally half his age spent two nights at the five-star Le Bristol hotel in Paris, where they ordered a “romance pack” from the front desk. Perepilichnyy checked out on November 10. But Medynska, who described Perepilichnyy as “very stressed” with shaking hands, said she had no idea that the wealthy businessman was married or that he had any conflict with the Russian government.
BuzzFeed said that Medynska’s social media accounts said that she had studied and done business in Russia, but after speaking to the publication, she removed those references, calling them “a mistake.”
[Featured Image By Alexei Druzhinin/AP Images]