A former close adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin died last year during a drinking binge in which he apparently fell repeatedly and suffered a lethal head injury, the US Justice Department says.
Mikhail Lesin, 57, a former press minister who once led several of Russia’s most popular news outlets and helped create the state’s English-language news channel RT, was found dead on November 5, 2015, at the Dupont Circle Hotel in the US capital.
Bruises all over his body had fuelled questions about the death, but the injuries were explained by authorities as the result of multiple falls.
The city medical examiner first listed the manner of death as undetermined but, after a nearly year-long investigation by Washington DC police and the FBI, revised the finding to accidental with acute ethanol intoxication as a contributing cause of death, the Justice Department said.
Evidence including video and witnesses showed that Lesin returned to his hotel room for the last time on November 4, 2015, “after days of excessive consumption of alcohol, and sustained the injuries that resulted in his death while alone in his hotel room,” according to the statement.
The medical examiner concluded that Lesin died “as a result of blunt force injuries to his head, with contributing causes being blunt force injuries of the neck, torso, upper extremities and lower extremities, which were induced by falls, with acute ethanol intoxication,” the Justice Department said.