Russian Oligarchs

Russian Oil Executive in the UK Takes Own Life as Assets Frozen Over Ukraine War

A Russian oil executive, who sought political asylum in the UK, has reportedly died by suicide following the freezing of some of his assets due to the conflict in Ukraine, according to The Independent. The individual in question is identified as Mikhail Anatolyevich Trushin, 61, formerly associated with Yukos oil company, which, at its zenith in the early 2000s, had a valuation nearing $40 billion but was subsequently effectively renationalized by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trushin was one of several Yukos executives who fled Russia in 2004 following the imprisonment of the chief executive, and prominent Russian dissident, Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Seeking refuge in the UK, Trushin was granted political asylum, with the UK rejecting extradition requests from Russian authorities.

Now, a coroner has determined that Trushin ended his own life on July 29, 2022, in an outbuilding within the garden of his Surrey mansion. Described as a health-conscious man, he frequently attended wellness retreats and had no prior interaction with mental health services. Trushin, a private investor of high intelligence and likable demeanor, took everyone by surprise, the coroner noted.

His staff, who tended to him at home, as well as his wife and partner of two decades, were all shocked by his unexpected decision. The court revealed that none of them had any inkling that Trushin was contemplating such an action.

The Surrey police have confirmed that the death is not deemed suspicious. A post-mortem examination revealed no signs of intoxication, third-party injury, bruising, or needle puncture sites. The only marks found on his body were consistent with death by hanging, according to the coroner.

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This incident follows a series of deaths among senior Russian oil executives since President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Ukrainian-born oligarch Mikhail Watford was also found dead by suicide in Virginia Water in February 2022, residing a mere six-minute drive away from Trushin’s mansion.

Trushin’s partner of two decades, in a statement to the coroner’s court, shared that when the conflict in Ukraine began, Trushin’s accounts in Switzerland were frozen. Although they rarely discussed finances, she mentioned that this circumstance made him feel insecure.

On the night Trushin was discovered deceased at home, both his daughter in Miami and his partner received an email from him, explaining his death. The court learned that Trushin lived alone in his £3.2m Surrey home, apart from his wife and long-term partner, and seldom had visitors, meeting friends only “two to three times a year.”

In the email, he disclosed feeling bankrupt due to being deceived out of money and expressed a lack of readiness to engage in business outside of Russia. He reflected on his life as a wonderful journey and conveyed a desire for people to believe he had suffered a heart attack.

In the week leading up to his demise, Trushin broke away from his daily ritual of swimming in his pool. When questioned by a housekeeper about this change, he cited a lack of time due to an overwhelming workload.

During that same period, he directed his housekeeper not to activate the perimeter alarm system around his property. Additionally, he adopted a late-night routine, occasionally going to bed as late as 2 am. Furthermore, one of his staff members was tasked with a trip to Selfridges to replenish Trushin’s preferred yogurt, with specific instructions to purchase only enough to last until July 29. Intriguingly, a housekeeper informed the court that Trushin had plans to visit the Cayman Islands, expressing bewilderment about the circumstances leading to his death.

CCTV footage from the night of his passing captured him walking from the main house to the “summer kitchen,” an outbuilding in his garden, where he was subsequently discovered lifeless. The next individuals recorded on CCTV were the staff members who found him in the early morning.

Russian opposition activist Mikhail Khodorkovsky paid tribute to Trushin, describing him as ‘an optimistic individual
Russian opposition activist Mikhail Khodorkovsky paid tribute to Trushin, describing him as ‘an optimistic individual’ (Getty Images)

These staff members were summoned in the middle of the night by Trushin’s distressed daughter, who had read the email suicide note he sent her.

Following his release from a Russian prison in 2013, Mr. Khodorkovsky, now residing in the UK, expressed deep regret upon learning about the tragic details of Mikhail Trushin’s passing.

In response to the news, he remarked, “This comes as news to me because, until this moment, I believed that his death was attributed to natural causes. Mikhail Trushin worked in my company, Yukos, during the early 2000s, transitioning from Moscow City Hall. He played a crucial role in managing our operations in various regions, fostering connections with local communities. I recall him as an optimistic individual and a successful manager.”

A spokesperson for Surrey Police stated, “We received a call in the early hours of Friday, July 29, regarding an incident at an address in Virginia Water, where the body of a man in his 60s was discovered. The death underwent a thorough investigation and was determined to be non-suspicious.”

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