Russian general who knew secrets of Putin’s £1bn ‘Bond villain’ palace dies in jail in SECOND top brass death in 24hrs | The Sun

A TOP Russian general who knew the secrets of a £1billion palace thought to be owned by Vladimir Putin has died in jail.

General Gennady Lopyrev, 69, is the second of the tyrant's top brass to die in just 24 hours.

A series of Putin's cronies to have died in mysterious circumstances since war broke out in Ukraine.

On Wednesday, it was revealed Colonel-General Gennady Zhidko, 58, had been found dead from an unknown illness after being purged from the military command.

Lopyrev meanwhile suddenly fell ill on Monday and as he gasped for breath doctors told him he had previously undiagnosed leukaemia.

But there are suspicions he was poisoned just as he became eligible for parole.

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The general was jailed for ten years in 2017 by a military court after being accused of bribe-taking and illegal possession of ammunition – charges he always denied.

Serving in the Federal Protection Service [FSO], he personally oversaw the construction of Putin’s clifftop Gelendzhik Palace, a private residence allegedly built with state cash.

He was also responsible for the dictator’s official residence Bocharov Ruchei in Sochi.

Until he was caged, he had been one of Putin's closest security aides and was seen with the Russian president and then British premier Tony Blair in Moscow in 2002.

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His conviction was seen by some as being based on trumped up charges to get him out of the way. 

Lopyrev appeared healthy as he spoke with his son Alexander on Monday.

But suddenly on Monday he complained of speaking and breathing difficulties, reported Telegram channel VChK-OGPU. 

The channel likened the symptoms to those of Putin's foe Alexei Navalny, who was poisoned with nerve agent Novichok.

Lopyrev was taken on Monday from penal colony number 3 in Ryazan region to two hospitals, where medics at the second claimed he had leukaemia after doctors at the first found nothing conclusive.

Lopyrev's son said: “I spoke to the chief of their medical unit, who said his heart check returned normal, and lungs were clear. 

“It is hard to say what exactly happened. We were getting ready to apply for his parole, because it was time [to apply].

"And now this call [to say he had died]. It’s all very strange, and way too fast.”

His father was fit and walked nine miles a day in his penal colony, and also did gymnastics.

Viktor Boborykin, chairman of the Public Monitoring Commission for the region, said there was “nothing criminal” in his death. 

Navalny had earlier identified Lopyrev as being responsible for Gelendzhik and knowing all the secrets of its funding.

The palace includes a pole-dancing hookah boudoir, casino, and a "aqua disco".

It has a 16-storey underground complex which has been compared with the lair of a James Bond villain. 

A mining engineer who worked on the construction said it had been built for the president and “there is a whole anthill in the rock under the house” including a nuclear shelter.

The subterranean maze includes a cliff face loggia overlooking the sea and a vast wine cellar – but the Kremlin has denied it was built for Putin.

Lopyrev was convicted of bribes worth £50,000 but reports said some £8.3 million had been found in his possession.

His death followed that of Col-Gen Gennady Zhidko, 58, former deputy defence minister and war commander.

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Zhidko had been purged of his role overseeing the Ukrainian conflict by Putin.

He was said to have died after a “lengthy illness”.

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