Police continue investigation of Kremlin critic's disappearance

(dpa) - Police in the Baltic nation of Latvia confirmed that blood stains found inside a resort home belonged to Leonid Rozhetskin, a US millionaire of Russian origin, who disappeared two weeks ago, local media reported Monday.

"We've received test results which show that the DNA of the blood samples found inside the house and his car matches the DNA taken off personal belongings," Evita Spalvena of the Latvian police told the Telegraf newspaper.

A staunch Kremlin critic, Rozhetskin mysteriously disappeared on March 16 from his summer home in a resort town of Jurmala, outside the Latvian capital Riga.

"My son isn't missing. My son is dead, and the reason he is dead is that he spoke out about corruption in the Russian government," Rozhetskin's mother, Elvira, told the British newspaper Mail on Sunday.

Latvian investigators are now treating the case as murder instead of a disappearance as they originally did.

Police found blood stains and broken furniture in his home. They have located Rozhetskin's car as well as his private plane. The plane has since then flown to Switzerland, Canada and Norway without Rozhetskin, according to British media reports.

In 2006, Russian prosecutors placed the 41-year-old Rozhetskin on an international search list for an alleged fraud involving 40 million dollars, however he was taken off the list several months ago, according to the Russian newspaper Kommersant.

The Latvian authorities assume his disappearance is connected with his business dealings.

Recently, Rozhetskin moved into the media industry, setting up a free business newspaper in London, City AM and co-founded a Los Angeles-based feature film production L+E Productions, set to make a film about the Russian mafia.

From 2001 to 2005, Rozhetskin used to be the vice president of Russian Norilsk Nickel metalworks, Russia's largest mining company and the world's largest miner of nickel and palladium, and his investment company LV Finance used to own one fourth of Russia's third largest mobile phone operator MegaFon.

The Russian prosecutor's office believes that through a complicated financial transaction, Rozhetskin stole a large sum of money from financial fund Ipoc, which was meant for the purchase shares of the mobile operator.

Born in Russia in 1966, Rozhetskin emigrated with his family to the United States in 1980, according to his website. He graduated from Columbia University and Harvard Law School.

One year after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, he returned to Russia to set up a legal firm, and later moved into the finance sector, founding an investment bank and a venture capital firm.

From 1992 to 1994, he worked as an attorney in the US.

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