Pavel Antov, Founder of Russian Meat Company, Dies in India

A wealthy Russian businessman and lawmaker was found dead over the weekend in India, shortly after another Russian national he was traveling with died at the same hotel, local media reported, citing police.

The two men, Pavel Antov and Vladimir Budanov, were part of a tourist group visiting the Indian state of Odisha.

Mr. Budanov, 61, died of an apparent heart problem late last week in their hotel in the Rayagada district, a local police superintendent told the news agency Asian News International, adding that Mr. Antov appeared to be depressed after Mr. Budanov’s death.

Other local media outlets, citing police, reported that Mr. Antov was found lying in a pool of blood outside the hotel that weekend. He is believed to have fallen from a third-floor window, though police said they didn’t know if it was an accident or suicide.

Mr. Antov, who had just turned 65, was the founder of the Russian meat conglomerate Vladimir Standard and a member of parliament in Vladimir Oblast, east of Moscow. He topped the Forbes list of Russia’s richest civil servants in 2019 with a reported fortune of nearly 10 billion rubles, or over $140 million at Tuesday’s exchange rate.

The vice speaker of the regional parliament, Vyacheslav Kartukhin, said Mr. Antov’s death was the result of tragic circumstances, TASS reported. The parliament’s speaker, Vladimir Kiselyov, described Mr. Antov as a man who won everyone over.

Odisha state police said on Tuesday that the inquiry into the deaths of two Russians would be handled by the Crime Investigation Department, a specialized branch of the police.

The Russian consul general in Kolkata confirmed the two deaths to the Russian state news agency TASS on Monday and said local police did not suspect a crime.

Mr. Antov is the latest Russian magnate to die under mysterious circumstances since Russia invaded Ukraine in February. Russian media reported in June that he had criticized the shelling of residential areas in Kyiv as terrorism, though he later appeared to recant his statement. A post under his name on the Russian social media platform VKontakte said the original message was shared in error and emphasized that Mr. Antov was a patriot and a supporter of President Vladimir V. Putin.

Other prominent Russian businessmen who have died suddenly in recent months include the chairman of Lukoil, Russia’s second-largest oil producer, which had called for an end to the war. State media said the executive, Ravil Maganov, fell from a sixth-floor hospital window in September.

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