Who Was Dan Rapoport? Nightclub Tycoon Who Fled Russia After Turning Critic to Putin Dies Under Mysterious Circumstances in Washington DC

Rapoport had links to imprisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and was involved in highlighting Vladimir Putin's suspected corruption.

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A Latvian businessman, who made huge money in Russia before turning into a critic of Putin, was found dead under mysterious circumstances in the United States, the Russian media has claimed. Dan Rapoport, 52, an investment banker, allegedly committed suicide in his Washington D.C. home, with the former editor of Russian Tatler magazine claiming on Tuesday that his dog was found in a nearby park with money and a suicide note.

However, Rapoport's widow Alena, a Ukrainian virologist, claims that he did not kill himself and that "there was no note, no suicide." Alena also claimed that police have launched an investigation into the mysterious death of Rapoport but there hasn't been any such report or announcement in the United States.

Mysterious Death

Dan Rapoport
Dan Rapoport Twitter

Former Russian Tatler editor Yuniya Pugacheva's Telegram channel was the first to report Rapoport's death on Tuesday. Pugacheva stated that the finance executive had "committed suicide in Washington DC" before sharing information about his dog and the suicide note.

Besides, she asserted that she had seen Rapoport in May at London's opulent Connaught Bar, where she claimed he was there "in the company of young girls."

"They say that his wife left him," she added.

Dan Rapoport
Dan Rapoport Twitter

His widow Alena Rapoport, however, was quoted by the Russian news agency RBC as confirming his death but denying suicide.

"To our great regret, the husband and father of our daughter is no longer with us," she was quoted as saying.

Although she did not give details about the cause of Rapoport's death or exact location, she did claim that an investigation was in progress. "We were due to meet, he had appointments and plans," she said.

Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin Twitter

"Dan evacuated us from Kyiv and returned there to help my country. Next we were supposed to meet in the USA."

Rapoport was a well-known figure in Russia when the country was going through a lot of political turmoil 1990s. He was also a former co-owner of the legendary Moscow nightclub Soho Rooms.

Dan Rapoport
Dan Rapoport Twitter

Additionally, Rapoport had links to imprisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and was involved in highlighting Vladimir Putin's suspected corruption. Rapoport had immigrated to Ukraine, married a Kyiv-based virologist who had given birth to a girl, and was widely regarded as being very pro-Ukrainian.

Suicide or Murder

Rapoport was born in Latvia, which was then a part of the Soviet Union, and later immigrated to the United States in 1980 with his family after being granted political asylum.His identity as "David Jewberg," a "Pentagon analyst" and authority on relations between Ukraine and Russia who was regularly cited by the media in both countries, was revealed in 2018 by the investigative website Bellingcat.

Alexei Navalny
Alexei Navalny was poisoned Wikimedia commons

Typical "Jewberg" tweets attacked Putin, criticized the war he started in Ukraine in 2014, and urged the US to pursue heavier sanctions against him. In reality, it was discovered that "Jewberg" was fictional, with Rapoport managing the account with help from a group of friends.

In 2017, Sergei Tkachenko, Rapoport's business partner and co-owner of his Moscow nightclub, also died mysteriously although it was believed that he had committed himself.

In 2016, Rapoport moved to Ukraine from Washington, D.C., after selling his house there in an effort to replicate his early post-communist-revolution financial success there. Interestingly, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner shifted to the house later.