Russian billionaire Vyacheslav Taran, the co-founder of trading platforms Forex Club and Libertex, was killed in a helicopter crash in Southeast France, adding to the growing list of mysterious oligarchs’ deaths since Russia’s President Vladimir Putin‘s invasion of Ukraine.
The 53-year-old Russian mogul had left Lausanne in Switzerland on Friday with a well-experienced 35-year-old pilot on an Airbus H130 en route to Monaco in reportedly “good weather” when the helicopter went down and crashed near the French town of Villefranche-sur-Mer, Russian media reported.
Both Taran and his pilot died.
Another passenger was supposed to be on that flight but reportedly canceled at the last minute, the France Bleu network reported.
An article from UNIAN, a Ukrainian publication, claimed that the crypto executive had most “likely ties to the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service” and was “laundering funds through a system of cryptocurrency operations.” The article, which did not provide proof to back this claim, has now been deleted.
“Vyacheslav with his friends created Pristaniste.me, a charitable foundation for Ukrainian refugees…Vyacheslav has always actively supported Ukrainian people through his charity foundations. I urge all Western journalists who cite UNIAN.net to stop spreading the lies. My children have already been bullied because of these accusations and I am concerned for their safety,” Taran’s wife Olga said, disputing the publication’s claim.
The Russian billionaire made his fortune founding Forex Club and Libertex and was known for his philanthropic activities of giving back to the community. His company Libertex offers a wide range of products and services and commission-free trading of all cryptocurrencies and crypto-based CFDs.
Taran’s death came after the bizarre deaths of two crypto executives over the past weeks.
Nikolai Mushegian, the 29-year-old co-founder of the lending platform MakerDAO, the ecosystem that created the stablecoin DAI, died on Oct. 28 from drowning in the sea during his beach walk in Puerto Rico. His death came a few hours after he tweeted that the CIA and Mossad were after him.
“CIA and Mossad and pedo elite are running some kind of sex trafficking entrapment blackmail ring out of Puerto Rico and Caribbean islands. They are going to frame me with a laptop planted by my ex gf who was a spy. They will torture me to death,” the crypto executive’s final tweet read.
Tiantian Kullander was another crypto casualty who died in his sleep on Nov. 23 at the age of 30. Kullander was the founder of the Amber Group, a multi-billion fintech unicorn.