Two Russian oligarchs found dead one day apart alongside their wives and children

22 April 2022, 08:23 | Updated: 22 April 2022, 08:28

Sergei Protosenya, left, was found dead in Spain alongside his family. Vladislav Avayev, right, was found dead in Moscow
Sergei Protosenya, left, was found dead in Spain alongside his family. Vladislav Avayev, right, was found dead in Moscow. Picture: Facebook/Social media

By Asher McShane

Police are investigating the deaths of two Russian oligarchs who were found dead alongside their wives and children one day apart in their luxury homes in Moscow and Spain.

Vladislav Avayev, the former vice president of Gazprombank, was found dead of a gunshot wound in his Moscow apartment on Monday, according to Russia's TASS news agency.

Investigators have reportedly said their main theory is that Avayev shot his wife and daughter, and then himself.

Avayev, 51, his wife Yelena, 47, and their 13-year-old daughter Maria were found with gunshot wounds in the Russian capital.

They were discovered by Avayev's 26-year-old daughter Anastasia after she was unable to contact them, police spokeswoman Yulia Ivanova told state-owned new agency TASS.

The door of the 14th floor apartment is said to have been locked from the inside, with officials suspecting a murder-suicide. They believe Avayev's wife and daughter were shot before he was.

Anastasia told officers she found a gun in her father's hand.

The following day another oligarch, Sergei Protosenya, was found hanged in Spain with his wife and daughter stabbed to death, according to Spanish media.

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Their bodies were found Tuesday reportedly with a bloodstained knife and an axe at his side.

Protosenya was the former vice president and chief accountant of Novatek, a major gas company with close connections to Gazprombank who boasted a fortune of over £333million.

Protosenya his wife, and his daughter, were staying in a rented luxury mansion in Lloret de Mar for the Easter period, according to Spanish news outlet Telecinco.

Natalia and Maria are thought to have been been hacked to death in their beds with an axe, according to reports.

Police were alerted to the deaths when the oligarch's son, who was in France, raised the alarm after nobody picked up the phone, Telecinco reported.

Officers checked on the villa and found Protosenya dead outside the home.

Police in the region have confirmed they are investigating the deaths, they said in a statement: "Police officers from the Generalitat-Mossos d'Esquadra of the Criminal Investigation Division (DIC) of the Girona Police Region are investigating the deaths of three people in a home in Lloret de Mar.

"This afternoon, [police] received a warning that the Lloret de Mar Local Police had found the body of three people in a private home in the town.

"Several police officers have moved to the scene. The DIC has opened an investigation to clarify the circumstances of the deaths."

Last month, Ukranian-born oligarch Mikhail Watford, 66, who made his fortune in oil and gas, was found dead in his mansion in Surrey.