Russian Oligarch's Ex-Firm Appears to Cast Doubt on Murder-Suicide Theory

A Russian oligarch's former company appeared to cast doubt on theories that he died during a murder-suicide incident this week.

Sergey Protosenya, a 55-year-old Russian gas oligarch, was found dead in his apartment in Spain's Catalonia region, the Spanish news site, El Punt Avui reported on Wednesday. According to reports, Protosenya's wife and daughter were also found dead in the apartment, which led Catalonia's Mossos d'Esquadra investigate police force to theorize that Protosenya stabbed his wife and daughter to death and then hung himself.

However, shortly after the news of Protosenya's death was reported, Novatek, a natural gas producer in Russia, appeared to contradict reports that it was a murder-suicide. Protosenya previously served as a member of Novatek's management board and worked at the company from 1997 to 2015.

Sergey Protosenya
A photo of Sergey Protosenya, a Russian oligarch that was found dead in his Spain apartment in what police believe to be a murder-suicide incident. Facebook

"[Protosenya] established himself as an outstanding person and a wonderful family man, a strong professional who made a considerable contribution to the formation and development of the Company. Unfortunately, speculations have emerged in the media about this topic, but we are convinced that these speculations bear no relation to reality," Novatek said in a statement.

The company also called for a "thorough and impartial investigation" into the cause of Protosenya's death and expressed its "deepest sympathies" to everyone affected by the "tragic situation."

Newsweek reached out to Novatek for further comment.

The Spanish news site, Telecinco reported that the Mossos d'Esquadra police were first alerted to Protosenya's residence after his other son was unable to reach any family members on the phone.

In a press release on Tuesday, the Mossos d'Esquadra confirmed that they were investigating "the deaths of three people in a home in Lloret de Mar."

"This afternoon, the Mossos 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 statement said.

Newsweek reached out to the Mossos d'Esquadra for comment.

In addition to the reports of Protosenya's murder-suicide, a second Russian oligarch was also found in a similar situation this week.

On Monday, Moscow's Main Investigation Department issued a statement saying that they found "bodies of a woman, a man, and a minor child with gunshot wounds," in a Moscow apartment.

"The investigation is considering various versions of what happened. Currently, according to the priority version, the man committed the murder of his wife and minor daughter, and then shot himself," the statement said.

Shortly after the statement, Russia's state-run news outlet, Tass, reported that the man was identified as 51-year-old Vladislav Avayev, a former official in the Kremlin and Gazprombank vice president.