A Russian executive with connections to the energy industry was found dead in his swimming pool on Monday with a gunshot wound to the head, according to local media.
Yuri Baranov, 61, had a point-blank gunshot wound to the head, and a Grand Power pistol was found nearby in his villa outside St Petersburg, local outlet 47news reported. Two spent shell casings were found at the bottom of the pool, per the outlet.
It is the fifth death of a Gazprom-linked executive in recent months and one of numerous deaths of high-level executives linked to the Russian energy industry.
The company Voronov founded, Astra Shipping, specialized in contracts in the Arctic from the state-controlled gas corporation, according to 47news.
Security footage reviewed by police showed that nobody had entered or left the villa since July 1, the outlet reported. That day, Voronov left his St Petersburg home to head to the villa and had been drinking heavily for two weeks prior, his wife told the outlet.
She alleged that he had run into trouble with dishonest contractors, 47news reported, without naming any specific company. Records reviewed by the outlet showed the company had high debt levels in 2020 and 2021.
There has been a grim catalog of Gazprom-linked deaths in recent months, some of which have been cast as suspicious by family members and colleagues.
In April, Sergey Protosenya was found hanged in his Spanish villa with a gun next to him, with the bodies of his wife and daughter, who were shot, nearby.
Protosenya was the former vice president of Novatek, a gas company with close connections to Gazprombank, Gazprom’s financial arm.
Police are treating the case as a murder-suicide, but both Novatek and Protosenya’s surviving son have cast doubt on this theory.
The day before Protosenya’s body was discovered, police found Gazprombank’s former vice-president, Vladislav Avayev, dead in Moscow along with the bodies of his wife and two daughters. State media reported that investigators believed he killed his family before turning the gun on himself.
In February, 61-year-old Gazprom executive Alexander Tyulyakov was found hanged in his St Petersburg garage, Novaya Gazeta reported. Police told the outlet a suicide note was found near his body, but that they questioned its authenticity.
Leonid Shulman, another top Gazprom executive, was found dead in his villa in January, according to Russian outlet RBC, which did not describe a cause of death.
Former gas executive Mikhail Watford was also found hanged in his garage in the UK in February.