An “effective” critic of Vladimir Putin and Latvian-American financier Dan Rapoport was discovered dead earlier this month after Washington, D.C., police responded to a call about a jumper. According to a recent story, some of the prominent American banker’s fellow Russian detractors have raised doubts about the apparent suicide of the man.
Dan Rapoport, a Latvian-born American who was a vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was found dead at 52 outside his luxurious Georgetown apartment on Aug. 14. The Metropolitan Police Department has told media that responders found Rapoport’s body on the sidewalk shortly before 6 p.m. after receiving a call about a jumper, according to The Independent, and investigators do not suspect foul play.
A spokesperson from the MPD’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner saud the cause of Rapoport’s death is still “pending” while a review is conducted. Such determinations are often made within 90 days. However, a new report Friday published by Politico shares that some family and friends don’t believe Rapoport died by suicide.
Bill Browder, a friend of Rapoport’s who had become a Putin critic himself after the killing of his lawyer, told the outlet that police shrugging aside foul play in their report was “a premature and unhelpful conclusion,” noting Rapoport’s track record of being “an effective critic” of Putin, as well as a supporter of the Russian president’s political rival, Alexei Navalny. “I think the circumstances of his death are extremely suspicious,” Browder told Politico.
“Whenever someone who is in a negative view of the Putin regime dies suspiciously, one should [have to] rule out foul play, not rule it in.” Rapoport’s wife, Alyona Rapoport, said she’s “certain” her husband’s death was not a suicide, denying that claim in an interview with Russian news service RBC. Alyona said the couple had plans to meet soon in Washington, D.C., suggesting he wouldn’t have been making plans for the future if he was considering suicide.
Alyona, who was Rapoport’s third wife, said in a Facebook post on Aug. 17 that she was “heartbroken” over his death. She and the couple’s daughter asked for time “to process and grieve during this extremely difficult period.” Rapoport was born in the USSR and moved to the U.S. with his family when he was 11 years old, according to Politico. He went on to study at the University of Houston and later returned to Russia, where he became a wealthy financiers.
Rapoport left Russia in 2012 over his support for Navalny, the outlet reports. He then moved to the prominent Kalorama district in Washington, D.C., and later sold his property to former White House senior advisers Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump in 2016.
Multiple friends described Rapoport as having an energetic personality. One friend, Yuri Somov, said he was “incredibly intense and very much larger than life.” But not all of Rapoport’s acquaintances believe his recent death was suspicious. Ilya Ponomarev, a close friend, said he saw Rapoport earlier this summer at a barbecue in Washington, D.C., and it was “very clear” that Rapoport “was depressed that he was not with his family,” who had plans to meet up with him soon in the United States.
Fiona Hill, a former White House adviser and Russian specialist, said, “Not every unexplained death in Russia is the KGB or the GRU bumping someone off.” A police report showed that investigators found a cracked cell phone, glasses, a driver’s license and $2,620 in cash on Rapoport and that he was pronounced dead after being taken to a local hospital. Rapoport’s wife, Alyona, told RBC there were “no notes” found from her husband.
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