'Russia's Elon Musk' Was Tortured, Raped Before Dying: Report

Valery Pshenichny, 56, suffered horribly
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 18, 2018 2:50 PM CDT
This stock photo shows a grim prison cell.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – An entrepreneur known as "Russia's Elon Musk" was apparently raped and tortured in prison before he died—a finding that casts doubt on the official account of his death, Newsweek reports. Valery Pshenichny, 56, was awaiting trial on charges of embezzlement when he was found hanging in his St. Petersburg cell in February. Now an official medical report cited by Novaya Gazeta newspaper says his last days on Earth were horrific: "Electric shock burns from a hot-water boiler cord were found in his mouth," the paper reports. "Lacerations and stab wounds on his body. A broken spine. Simply put, he was tortured." The report rejected claims that Pshenichny had committed suicide but says he was likely tortured by "someone from outside" the prison.

Pshenichny was awaiting trial on charges of embezzling $1.6 million in a contract for military submarines to the Russian government, the Moscow Times reports. The entrepreneur, who had developed a technology for building and fixing submarines, was prosecuted after reporting his partner of embezzlement—but authorities charged Pshenichny instead, notes the Independent. In an unusual twist, Russian authorities are investigating his last days and say there was foul play. But his lawyer Larissa Fon-Arev suggests official corruption was evident from the January day state investigators and security service agents searched Pshenichny's home. "They asked him to take a good look at his suits," she says. "He was told he wouldn’t need them anymore, save for his coffin."

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