WASHINGTON, D.C. -- An American stockbroker who made a fortune in the Russian market in the 1990s and 2000s and later co-founded a posh Moscow nightclub before leaving the country died after being found lying on a sidewalk in Washington, police said.
Police said they were investigating the death of Dan Rapoport, 52, who was found outside an apartment building in a northwestern district of the U.S. capital, but there were no immediate indications of foul play.
A preliminary police report said officers responded to a report of a “jumper” on the evening of August 14, and the man, later identified as Rapoport, was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was declared dead.
The police report said officers found $2,620 in cash on Rapoport when they discovered his body on the sidewalk, along with headphones, a cracked cell phone, a Florida driver’s license, and other items. He was wearing flip-flops.
Brianna Burch, a police spokesperson, told RFE/RL that there did not appear to be anyone with Rapoport at the time and there were no listed witnesses. She said she did not have information to suggest he left a suicide note.
It wasn’t clear whether Rapoport was living in the apartment building. He had recently moved back to Washington after spending several years working in finance in Ukraine.
A police spokeswoman referred further questions from RFE/RL to the city’s medical examiner’s offices. An official with that office confirmed that an autopsy was pending, but had no other information.
The FBI did not immediately respond to queries about whether it was involved in the investigation.
Rapoport's wife, Alonya, a native of Ukraine, did not immediately respond to a Facebook message, but she confirmed his death in a Facebook post.
A native of Latvia and a fluent Russian speaker, Rapoport emigrated with his family to the United States in 1980. After graduation from a U.S. university, he moved to Russia in the early 1990s as a wave of privatizations swept across the country.
The sale of former state-owned companies created a booming stock market, minting a new generation of millionaires, Russian and foreign.
Rapoport was respected within Russian financial circles, where he worked for more than a decade at a local brokerage called CenterInvest, making his way up to managing partner. He claimed his clients included some of the nation's wealthiest tycoons.
In 2007, he opened a swanky nightclub in downtown Moscow called Soho Rooms, which became the go-to location for Moscow’s elite, Russian and foreign alike.
In 2012, he left Russia and returned to the United States, saying the stock brokerage industry that had made him a fortune "had died" as commission fees shrunk with improvements in technology.
But in a media interview prior to his departure, he also criticized the direction Russia had taken and expressed support for Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny, who was jailed last year.
"Our flight to Washington is in 12 hours. It's sad to leave Russia, but for thoughtful people, living here has become unbearable and disgusting," Rapoport wrote on his Facebook page on June 13, 2012.
He moved to Washington, where he said his parents lived, and set up a company called Rapoport Capital to advise and assist technology start-ups as well as venture capital funds on fundraising options.
The company’s website said it was registered in Washington, D.C., though public records say the company was registered in St. Petersburg, Florida, in February 2022.
An e-mail sent to the company’s website was not immediately responded to.
In 2016, four years after leaving Russia, Rapaport set up an office in Kyiv and opened a private equity fund. In social media posts, he was a vocal supporter of Ukraine, and an outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Rapoport gained a degree of publicity in January 2017, after The New York Times reported that the daughter and son-in-law of newly elected President Donald Trump had purchased a mansion owned by him and his first wife. The mansion was located in an exclusive neighborhood of the U.S. capital.
Later that same month, Raporport's co-founder of the Soho Rooms nightclub, Sergei Tkachenko, was found dead outside a Moscow building. Investigators said Tkachenko's body was found on a building awning “with injuries typical of a fall from a great height.”
In 2018, the open-source investigative organization Bellingcat reported that Rapoport had been the creator of a fictional persona named David Jewberg, who was frequently quoted in Ukrainian media as a senior Pentagon analyst.
Todd Prince reported from Washington, D.C. Mike Eckel reported from Prague.