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Igor Volobuev, vice president of state-owned Gazprombank, has confirmed that he has fled Russia and will fight with the Ukrainians against Kremlin forces after two other top executives were found dead in their homes.
Volubev, Ukrainian born, told British media he would remain in Ukraine until Kyiv was victorious and that he planned to “wash off his Russian past”.
The Gazprombank executive said no-one had known about his departure from Russia until now.
Volobuev also cast doubt on investigations into the alleged “murder-suicides” of two other high-ranking Russian oil and gas executives and their wives and daughters.
Former Gazprombank first VP Vladislav Avaev and his wife and daughter were found dead in their Moscow apartment on April 18th, while former Novatek manager Sergey Protosenya was found dead on April 19th, along with his wife and daughter, at their home in Spain.
So far, police are investigating both cases as murder-suicides.
In late February, right at the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the body of Alexander Tyulyakov, deputy general director of Gazprom's unified settlement center, was found hanging from a noose in another apparent suicide.
And in late January, Leonid Shulman, the head of Gazprom-Invest’s transport service, was found dead in his bathroom with deep lacerations on his body.
In an interview with Ukrainian liga.net, Volobuev insisted he did not feel a threat against his life, but doubted that the mysterious deaths of his colleagues were murder-suicides.
"It's hard to believe that Avaev shot his 13-year-old daughter, wife and committed suicide. In my opinion, it's a staging of a suicide. I think he was killed,” Volobuev said.
Volobuev also claimed that Akaev was not a “former” first VP of Gazprombank at the time of his death; rather, he was the current first VP, suggesting that the Kremlin listed him as “former” in order to “deflect the blow” of scandal on Gazprombank.
The bank was already reeling from scandal with the resignation of CEO Ruslan Dostovalov on April 2nd.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com