A top executive at Russia's second-biggest oil company has become the third person to die suddenly in the past 18 months at the firm, which last year took a public stand over Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Chairman of Lukoil Vladimir Nekrasov died after suffering acute heart failure, the company said on Tuesday. It did not respond to a request for further comment.
Mr Nekrasov replaced the previous head of Lukoil’s board Ravil Maganov in September last year, after he died falling from a hospital window, according to state-run news agency TASS.
Russian media said Mr Maganov, 67, had been receiving treatment at Moscow’s Central Clinical Hospital and died of his injuries. Lukoil said he passed away from a “severe illness” but made no mention of his alleged fall, which raised eyebrows among Russia watchers in the West.
Unusually among Russian companies, Lukoil took a public stand over Moscow’s operation in Ukraine last year.
In a statement just days after the war broke out, the energy company’s board of directors expressed its concern over the "tragic events" in Ukraine and called for the "earliest possible end to armed conflict" through negotiations.
Billionaire Alexander Subbotin, 43, a former top manager at Lukoil, was also found dead in May after allegedly consuming toad poison while visiting a shaman.
A number of businessmen linked to Gazprom, the world’s largest publicly-listed gas company, have also died under mysterious circumstances over the course of several weeks in the build-up to, and aftermath of, the Ukraine invasion.
In two cases, the executives’ wives and children, in Moscow and a Spanish resort town, were also discovered gruesomely hacked to death.
Last year, sausage executive Pavel Antov was found dead after reportedly falling from a hotel window in India. It came months after he denied criticising Russia’s war after a message appeared on his WhatsApp account.
His death came just two days after one of his Russian travel companions perished at the same hotel.
Some estimates put the number of high-profile Russians to have died since Mr Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine on 24 February last year at 39.