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Former Russian Press Minister Lesin Found Dead In Washington

Mikhail Lesin had been accused by some of censoring Russia's independent media. (file photo)

Former Russian press minister Mikhail Lesin, who once headed Kremlin-controlled media giant Gazprom-Media, died of a heart attack in Washington, media reported on November 6.

ABC News quoted Russian and U.S. officials as saying Lesin, 57, was found dead inside a hotel room in Washington's Dupont Circle area on November 5.

Russia Today, the English-language news network now known as RT that Lesin is credited with creating, quoted family members as saying the millionaire and long-time adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin died of a heart attack.

TASS and ABC reported that police had found no signs of foul play but a formal investigation into his death had been launched.

Some U.S. lawmakers have accused Lesin, who was Russia's Minister of Press from 1999 to 2004, of censoring Russia's independent media.

He became head of Gazprom-Media Holding in 2013, but resigned the following year, reportedly citing family reasons.

One U.S. senator asked the U.S. Justice Department 11 months ago to investigate whether Lesin used illicit funds to purchase several multimillion dollar homes in the Los Angeles area.

Based on reporting by ABC, Reuters, RT, and TASS