A high-ranking Russian prosecutor who offered “dirt” on Hillary Clinton has been found dead with two bullet holes in his back.
Investigators have confirmed that deputy Prosecutor-General Saak Karapetyan was killed last Wednesday after his AS-350 helicopter crashed in Kostroma, north-east of Moscow.
The crash was was originally blamed on the helicopter being “overloaded,” but following an autopsy, investigators have confirmed that two bullets were founded in Karapetyan’s back.
Dailymail.co.uk reports: Karapetyan has been linked to Moscow’s alleged offers of ‘dirt’ on Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump’s election campaign via the glamorous lawyer who met with the Trump campaign in 2016.
Natalia Veselnitskaya, 43, met with Donald Trump Jr, Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner in Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign.
Veselnitskaya led a pro-Moscow campaign to overturn anti-corruption laws imposing sanctions on key senior Russian officials and organisations.
The US Magnitsky Act, signed into law by then-President Barack Obama in 2012, authorizes the government to sanction Russian human rights offenders, freeze their assets, and ban them from entering the US.
While overturning the law would have been Veselnitskaya’s main aim, leaked emails saw her claim that she had dirt on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, allegedly given to her by Karapetyan’s Prosecutor-General’s Office.
Before his death this week, Karapetyan had been in charge of the Russian criminal investigations into the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March.
He also led the investigation into the deaths of Putin foe Boris Berezovsky, and dissident Alexander Litvinenko – which both took place on UK soil.
There are also extraordinary claims he was a channel of leaks to British, US and Swiss secret services.
Russian critics have claimed that all three of Karapetyan’s criminal probes into the Skripal, Berezovsky and Litvinenko cases were aimed at masking Moscow’s involvement in each case.
The shooting allegation is expected to increase speculation that the leading prosecutor was assassinated.
The official version is that the ‘overloaded’ helicopter crashed after clipping trees in Kostroma region, killing Karapetyan, his nephew Areg Arutyunyan, 47, pilot Stanislav Mikhnov, and another passenger Viktor Kopteev, 54.
But respected Moscow journalist Sergei Dorenko has bluntly accused the investigating authorities of a cover-up in seeking hide two bullet wounds to highly experienced 54-year-old pilot – and gun shot damage to the copter’s blade.
The claim that Mikhnov was shot immediately before the helicopter crash was made by Dorenko’s Govorit Moskva radio station and promptly denied by the Investigative Committee (IC) – in charge of probing serious crime.
Dorenko retorted: ‘We have the official version that the pilot mistakenly touched the trees and the helicopter fell to the ground.
‘But in fact I suppose that the pilot was good and did not touch any trees.
‘He did not take off at all.
‘He was shot with two bullets in the back before this.’
This leaves the possibility that someone else was at the controls when the helicopter took off and crashed – or that it was destroyed on the ground, killing all on board.
Dorenko said: ‘The IC decided that there were no gunshots…
‘So two 5.45 caliber bullets one of which broke through the pilot’s blade are not to be considered. Why?’
He insisted: ‘There are two 5.45 bullets in the pilot…. the blade is also pierced.’
Investigative Committee spokesperson Svetlana Petrenko had insisted:: ‘The information is not true.
‘None of those killed in the crash has any gunshot wounds.’
Reports say Karapetyan and his nephew Arutyunyan, 47, a senior customs official, were using the helicopter for a hunting trip.
The pilot landed near village Vonyshevo due to atrocious weather and the pair ordered a car to come and collect them.
Then they randomly met a villager Kopteev, who offered to show them the route to take a short flight to meet the car.
This is when the accident allegedly happened.
Kopteev’s relative heard the cracking of branches and the sound of the impact.
In the wake of the crash, there were anonymous claims from respected anonymous ‘Kremlin insider’ blogger nicknamed Nezygar suggesting that Karapetyan’s death will ‘resolve a number of very painful issues’ in the Russian government.
Among these ‘it will stop leaks of highly confidential information to the West’.
In particular Karapetyan’s death would prevent future passing of information to the secret services of Britain, the US and Switzerland, it was claimed.