Key figure in Putin's internet and phone-tapping operation dies
Key figure in Putin’s internet and phone-tapping operation dies suddenly aged 40 of ‘cardiac arrest’
- The body of Anton Cherepennikov was found in his office in Moscow
A key figure in Vladimir Putin’s internet and phone tapping operation has died suddenly at the age of 40.
The body of Anton Cherepennikov was found in his office in Moscow, according to reports.
Before any post-mortem, media accounts said he had died from ‘cardiac arrest’, but further investigations will be carried out.
This was immediately treated with suspicion with one longtime friend Vasily Polonsky insisting: ‘I do not believe [he died of] cardiac arrest.’
‘The exact cause of the entrepreneur’s death will be determined later,’ reported Baza media outlet.
The body of Anton Cherepennikov was found in his office in Moscow, according to reports
Before any post-mortem, media accounts said Cherepennikov, a key figure in Vladimir Putin’s internet and phone tapping operation, had died from ‘cardiac arrest’, but further investigations will be carried out
Cherepennikov was seen as a sinister figure who was the owner of most systems for wiretapping phones and storing Internet traffic in Russia.
‘He was an absolutely key tool in Putin’s repression,’ said an opposition source.
‘His assassination cannot be ruled out as the security apparatus becomes desperate due to the failing war.’
His Citadel holding was described as ‘almost a monopoly on the wiretapping of Russians’.
This followed draconian laws under which telecom operators must store audio recordings of all calls and text messages for six months, and Internet internet traffic for a month.
His business worked hand in glove with Putin’s feared FSB security service, and its employees included key figures trained by the counterintelligence service – and their close relatives.
His success in acting as the state’s electronic snooper meant a profit of £172 million for his operation, it was reported.
Cherepennikov was seen as close to his ‘idol’, Kremlin-friendly oligarch Alisher Usmanov, formerly a shareholder of Arsenal football club in London.
Cherepennikov (pictured with his wife Anna) was seen as a sinister figure who was the owner of most systems for wiretapping phones and storing Internet traffic in Russia
The web sleuth studied at prestigious Bauman Moscow State Technical University and Moscow State University of Civil Engineering.
He went into business initially importing Blackberry phones, and selling computers and printers.
He played Counter-Strike and poker and was described as ‘competitive’ and a gambler.
He divorced his first wife who he met on a dating site, blaming his compulsive 15 hours work a day.
He married again, to a woman named Anna, he also met on a dating site.
Heavy smoker Cherepennikov was considered the key playing behind SORM – the ‘the system of technical means to ensure the functions of operational-search activities’, or total wiretapping in Russia.
A string of suspicious deaths have hit Russia since the months leading up to Putin’s ill-judged war in Ukraine.
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