Alexei Druzhinin / Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP
A investigation from BuzzFeed News has found the "British government is suppressing explosive intelligence" related to the 2012 death of Russian whistleblower Alexander Perepilichny, who was found dead in England with traces of a rare toxin in his stomach. Before he died, Perepilichny helped expose a Russian money laundering scam worth $230 million.
- Putin's role: U.S. intel officials said they passed intelligence to MI6, the British spy agency, that Perepilichny was likely "assassinated on direct orders from Putin or people close to him." The Office of the Director of National Intelligence last year asserted with "high confidence" Putin sanctioned the alleged murder.
- Similarly, French police are treating the death as a suspected organized assassination, but British police haven't cooperated with that investigation.
- Theresa May's government invoked national security powers in 2016 to withhold evidence from the inquest into his cause of death.
U.S. and U.K. officials said the U.K. government doesn't want to hurt U.K.-Russian relations, as in a 2006 incident in which the U.K accused Moscow of murdering former KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko in London.
"Several officials said the British government was particularly keen to preserve the flow of Russian money into London banks and properties," BuzzFeed writes.
What's next: The inquest into his cause of death opened June 5 this year and will last several weeks. The police and Perepilichny's wife are arguing he died of natural causes. His life insurance company is arguing murder and is accusing the police of a cover-up. His lawyers are claiming he was killed for exposing the fraud.
Don't forget: nine Russians have died under suspicious circumstances since November 2016, including six diplomats, a former KGB official with links to the Trump dossier, a former Russian MP, and a top Russian space official who was found dead March 18, apparently from stab wounds, while being held on embezzlement charges, which he denied.
- There was also a suspicious incident in March when Nikolai Gorkohov, a lawyer for a Putin foe, was thrown from a window in Moscow, one day before he was to challenge Moscow's refusal to investigate organized crime.
- Plus Alex Oronov, a Ukrainian businessman with alleged links to the Trump dossier, died in March of unexplained circumstances. His family reports Oronov died from an illness.