Russia's deputy prosecutor general—who has been accused of directing the foreign operations of the Russian lawyer who met with key members of President Donald Trump's campaign team in 2016 after promising to provide "dirt" on Hillary Clinton—reportedly died in a helicopter crash northeast of Moscow on Wednesday.
A helicopter carrying Saak Albertovich Karapetyan crashed in the forest near the village of Vonyshevo, according to local media. A spokesperson for the Prosecutor General's office confirmed to TASS that Karapetyan was a passenger on the chopper but denied reports that the flight was unauthorized.
Earlier this year, a Swiss corruption case exposed Karapetyan's ties to Natalia Veselnitskaya, the lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr., then-campaign chairman Paul J. Manafort, and Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, at Trump Tower in 2016 to discuss damaging information the Russian government had supposedly gathered on Clinton.
As comedian Liz Russo pointed out, this is "like House of Cards thriller conspiracy shit."
Like House of Cards thriller conspiracy shit. https://t.co/48YK1vpcRj
— Liz Russo (@TheLizRusso) October 4, 2018
Reporting on Karapetyan's death on Thursday, The Daily Beast explained:
Karapetyan, 58, was intimately familiar with some of the most notorious operations carried out under the orders of Vladimir Putin. He worked closely with Veselnitskaya as well as running some of Moscow's most high-profile efforts to thwart international investigations into Russia's alleged crimes.
It was Karapetyan who signed a letter from the Russian government refusing to help the U.S. in a civil case it was pursuing linked to the death of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who was trying to expose a $230 million fraud in Russia. Leaked emails have since shown that Veselnitskaya helped to draft the document sent with that letter.
Stanislav Mikhnov—an "experienced pilot"—and a third man also died in the crash. Russian law enforcement officials are reportedly investigating the incident and released a video of the wreckage, which shows a burned out French-made AS-350 helicopter.