A billionaire close to Russian President Vladimir Putin was found dead at a hotel in Washington, ABC News reported on Monday, citing US and Russian officials.

Former Russian communications minister Mikhail Lesin, accused by the opposition of silencing the media in Russia, was found dead on the deadline at The Dupont Circle on Thursday.

The US authorities informed the Russian embassy in Washington and the authorities of the two countries are attempting to determine the circumstances in which Lesin was summoned. The Washington police reported only a death case at the hotel, not wanting to disclose details of the ongoing investigation.

Lesin was funded by Russia Today, a media house broadcast in English and backed by the Russian government, claiming to "give a different perspective on major events in the world" from "the Russian point of view."

Mississippi Republican Senator Roger Wicker called for 2014 in July. a federal investigation into Lesina to investigate whether to make money in the United States and to contact with people under US sanctions.

Lesin was a Russian communications minister between 1999. and 2004., then Putin's adviser in creating Russia Today's media and the chief executive of the Russian oil company Gazprom. He allegedly bought property in Europe for several million dollars, as well as several real estate in Los Angeles for more than 28 million dollars.

"The fact that a Russian official could acquire such property poses serious issues," the US Senator claimed in a letter to US Justice Minister Eric Holder.

This happened in the context of a very tense relationship between Moscow and Washington.

(Hina)