This Millionaire Witness To A Russian Money-Laundering Scandal Totally Killed Himself, Claim Authorities
Let's say right off that as far as we know, maybe Aivar Rehe really did kill himself. Authorities claim he did, say they saw no signs of foul play when they found the man's body in his backyard, and describe no circumstances that make suicide impossible. But when Rehe first went missing in September, police had said "there's reason to suspect Rehe's life may be at risk," and they didn't mean risk of suicide. Because Rehe had been the CEO of the Estonian branch of Danske bank, and he'd been providing information about maybe the largest money-laundering operation in history.
It's hard to keep all these Russian scandals straight, so maybe this one passed you by. In 2013, it came out that Danske had been laundering billions for Russia, including a large amount for Vladmir Putin's family. As investigators dug further in, the case kept growing, covering more than $200 billion laundered for dozens of countries. Rehe was not a suspect, just a man who knew a thing or two about what was going on. Police have not revealed exactly how he died (other than claiming it was suicide) and haven't said why it took days to find him when he went missing if his body was in his own yard.
You don't have to be suspicious about this death. Only thing is, people related to this scandal seem to have had a bad habit of dying suspiciously. Russian central banker Andrei Kozlov tried to tell the international community what was going on back in 2006, and he was murdered within months of speaking out. In 2010, Russian businessman Alexander Perepilichnyy tried to blow the whistle about the theft of hundreds of millions from the national treasury (his company sent the money to the Estonian bank later implicated in the larger laundering scandal). He was found dead while jogging, and his insurance company detected a Chinese toxin in his system that caused cardiac arrest.
Perepilichnyy's lawyer had been Sergei Magnitsky, and by the time Perepilichnyy was off'd, the lawyer was already dead. Magnitsky had been investigating the theft, but Russia put an end to that by arresting him and throwing him into prison for a year without trial. Eight days before even Russian law said they had to release him, his dead body was found in his cell following a prison beating by guards. Magnitsky's own lawyer fell out of a fourth-floor window in what Russian media said was an accident involving lifting a bathtub and a long rope, but the victim (who survived, by the way) referred to it as attempted murder.
The only way to avoid getting whacked is probably to avoid all contact with money altogether. You might soon starve, but at least that's a straightforward death everyone can understand.
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