Pavel Antov, founder of the Russian Meat Company, dies in India

A wealthy Russian businessman and lawmaker was found dead in India over the weekend, shortly after another Russian national he was traveling with died at the same hotel, local media reported, citing police.

The two men, Pavel Antov and Vladimir Budanov, were part of a group of tourists visiting the Indian state of Odisha.

Mr. Budanov, 61, died of an apparent heart problem at her hotel in Rayagada district late last week, a local police superintendent told Asian News International, adding that Mr Antov appeared depressed after Mr Budanov’s death.

Other local media, citing police, reported that Mr Antov was found in a pool of blood outside the hotel this weekend. He is believed to have fallen from a third floor window, although police said they didn’t know if it was an accident or suicide.

Mr. Antov, who has just turned 65, was the founder of the Russian meat company Vladimir Standard and a member of parliament in Vladimir Oblast east of Moscow. He topped Forbes list of Russia’s richest officials in 2019 with a reported fortune of nearly 10 billion rubles, or over $140 million at Tuesday’s exchange rate.

Deputy speaker of the regional parliament Vyacheslav Kartukhin said Mr Antov’s death was the result of tragic circumstances, TASS reported. Speaker of Parliament Vladimir Kiselyov described Mr Antov as a man who won everyone over.

Odisha State Police said Tuesday that the investigation into the deaths of two Russians would be carried out by the criminal investigation department, a specialized department of the police.

The Russian consul-general in Kolkata confirmed the two deaths on Monday to the Russian state news agency TASS and said local police did not suspect a crime.

Mr. Antov is the youngest Russian magnate to die under mysterious circumstances since Russia invaded Ukraine in February. Russian media reported in June that he had criticized the shelling of residential areas in Kyiv as terrorism, although he later apparently retracted his statement. A post under his name on Russian social media platform VKontakte said the original message was shared in error and stressed that Mr Antov was a patriot and a supporter of Mr Putin.

Other prominent Russian businessmen who have died suddenly in recent months include the chairman of Lukoil, Russia’s second largest oil producer, who had called for an end to the war. State media reported that senior executive Ravil Maganov fell from a sixth-floor hospital window in September.

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