Statement from US authorities contradicts earlier reports that Mikhail Lesin had died from a heart attack.
Mikhail Lesin, a former close aide of Russian President Vladimir Putin who was found dead in a Washington hotel room last year, died of blunt force injuries to the head, according to US authorities.
Lesin who once headed the state-controlled Gazprom-Media, also had blunt force injuries to the neck, torso, arms and legs, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington said in a brief statement on Thursday.
According to a police incident report, Lesin, who was press minister from 1999 to 2004, was found unconscious on November 5 on the floor of his room in the Doyle Washington Hotel. The hotel is also known as the Dupont Circle Hotel.
An ambulance was called and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Russia’s RT television network quoted family members at the time as saying he had died of a heart attack.
A US law enforcement source told the Reuters news agency on Thursday the investigation into Lesin’s death was being led by Washington DC police.
The investigation was focused on Lesin’s death, but that did not rule out a possible change to a murder probe, said the source, who declined to be identified when discussing the matter.
The source said when police first investigated the hotel room where Lesin’s body was found, they did not find any damage or evidence indicating foul play.
A spokesman for the Russian Embassy in the United States said their officials had, for months, been requesting through diplomatic channels information on the progress of the investigation.
“No substantial information has been provided. With regard to the document that has been released to the public today, we expect the American side to provide us with relevant official explanation,” press secretary Yury Melnik said in an email.