rusija, zastava.jpg
Photograph: Photo by Simon Lee, used under CC BY

Russia's prosecutor general sent a formal request to the US Justice Department on Friday for official information regarding the mysterious death of a former close adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin in a Washington hotel room.

Recent media reports said former press minister Mikhail Lesin, who once led several of Russia's most popular news outlets and helped create the state's English-language news channel RT, was killed by blunt-force trauma to the head.

Lesin was found dead in Washington's Dupont Circle Hotel in November. Initial reports said he apparently died of a heart attack.

The request for official information "was sent in accordance with the agreement between Russia and the US on joint legal assistance on criminal cases," a spokesman for Prosecutor General Yury Chaika told the Interfax news agency.

Russia's Foreign Ministry said Friday that Washington had not sent Moscow "any substantial information" about the case.

"We are awaiting from Washington the pertinent explanations and official information concerning the investigation," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement.

Zakharova told dpa that Moscow has had to rely on a statement by a city medical examiner in Washington for information about the case.

The statement surfaced in the media, and Moscow had to verify its authenticity, Zakharova said.

The mysterious circumstances surrounding Lesin's death have sparked swirling speculation.

Critics claim Lesin played a key role in the muzzling of independent media in post-Soviet Russia.

His tough actions in the media sector also "caused strong dissatisfaction among the leaders of large federal channels and media holdings," Russia's respected Vedomosti newspaper reported.

In addition to the head trauma, Lesin had injuries to his neck, torso, arms and legs, according to the city medical examiner.

The New York Times cited an unnamed official as saying that Lesin's injuries were apparently inflicted during an altercation.

The report said surveillance camera video showed the media mogul appearing dishevelled as he returned to his hotel room before his death.

Related stories

Latest news

EU calls on Germany to reduce large current account surplus

The European Commission on Wednesday called on Germany, the bloc's biggest economy, to reduce its large current account surplus and focus on boosting domestic consumption.

Germans' demand for Croatian destinations on steady rise

Bookings for Croatia's destinations in some regions of Bavaria have been rising and some statistics show a 30% increase year-on-year, according to the preliminary information from the "" fair for leisure and travel, which opened in Munich on Wednesday and runs through Sunday.

Bosnia's counsel travels to The Hague to apply for review of genocide judgement against Serbia

Bosnia and Herzegovina's legal representative before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Sakib Softic, left for The Hague on Wednesday and is expected to submit a request on Friday for a review of an ICJ judgement delivered in 2007 acquitting the former Social Republic of Yugoslavia, present-day Serbia as its successor, of genocide in Srebrenica.

Serbian, Slovenian FMs says two countries' relations good, economic cooperation on rise

Relations between Slovenia and Serbia are good, the two countries have a number of common interests and their trade, which last year amounted to EUR 1 billion, is on the rise, Slovenian and Serbian Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec and Ivica Dacic respectively, said after their talks in Ljubljana on Wednesday.

Congo to investigate alleged massacre by army

The Congolese government Wednesday pledged to investigate an alleged massacre of unarmed men and women by the army, after initially dismissing a video claiming to show it as a fake.

Global treaty to remove customs bureaucracy comes into force

An international pact that could boost global trade by up to 1 trillion dollars per year entered into force on Wednesday, the World Trade Organization (WTO) announced in Geneva.

EU seeks to fine Austria for misrepresenting debt data

The European Commission was seeking to slap a fine of close to 30 million euros (31.5 million dollars) on Austria after one of its states reported incorrect debt data to the EU's statistical office, EU Commissioner Marianne Thyssen said Wednesday.

Merkel cabinet OKs new rules easing deportation of asylum seekers

The cabinet of German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday agreed a package of measures to ease the deportation of criminal asylum seekers.

Croatian crime victims still not exercising rights enjoyed by victims in other EU countries

Victims of crime in Croatia still cannot exercise the rights exercised by victims of crime in other EU member-countries, and the biggest problem is that the national legislation still does not incorporate the EU directive on the protection of victims of crime, heard a conference held in Zagreb on Wednesday on the occasion of the European Day for Victims of Crime.

Russia condemns 'fake' Western news in hall of shame on state website

Russia's Foreign Ministry introduced a new section of its website on Wednesday to condemn Western news reports with a big red stamp: "FAKE."

Report: Le Pen aides held for questioning on European Parliament jobs

Two key aides to Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate for the French presidency, have been held for questioning by police, the Agence France Presse news agency reported on Wednesday.

More than 400 exhibitors gather for boat, gastronomy shows in Zagreb

Slightly more than 400 exhibitors will present their products and services at the 26th International Boat Show and the 9th international gastronomy, hotel and catering equipment and catering show Hotel&Gastroteh, which opened at the Zagreb Trade Fair Centre on Wednesday.