Tests Show Russian Whistleblower May Have Been Killed by Rare Poison
A Russian businessman who collapsed and died in 2012 while jogging near his home may have been killed by a rare poison, a new toxicology test has indicated.
Alexander Perepilichny, 44, was a wealthy businessman who had turned in sensitive documents to Swiss prosecutors. These were used to implicate several Russian officials and organized crime figures in a US$ 240 million tax fraud case.
The fraud case was uncovered by Sergei Magnitsky, who died in a Russian prison in 2009 after being held in inhumane conditions and denied healthcare.
Perepilichny died in Surrey, United Kingdom, on 10 November 2012. After two autopsies, his cause of death remained unclear. Following a police investigation, his death was officially deemed unsuspicious.
However, RFE/RL reports that the new tests – ordered in advance of a prospective inquest – found trace amounts of chemicals derived from the toxic gelsemium plant in Perepilichny’s stomach.
Further tests are needed to determine if this was also present in his body.