One of Vladimir Putin’s officials has been rushed to hospital in “suspected poisoning” months after fleeing Russia to protest the war in Ukraine.
Anatoly Chubais is in intensive care after complaining of numbness in his arms and legs.
Specialists in hazmat suits were seen flocking to Chubais’ room after he fell ill in an unspecified country in Europe.
Reports of his sudden illness were first published by journalist and former Russian presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak.
Chubais, 67, was initially diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome – a rare and life-threatening condition that affects the nerves – but investigators are keeping an open mind following repeated cases where Putin’s enemies were poisoned with dead.
Sobchak said: “In this case, the diagnosis may change.”
She said “the room where Chubais was when he felt unwell was examined by specialists in chemical protective suits”.
Cops also “questioned all witnesses,” she added.
The victim’s wife Avdotya Smirnova, 56, a filmmaker, said her condition was “unstable”, Sobchak said.
“It got bad, suddenly the arms and legs went numb,” she said.
Chubais himself reportedly said: “I was hospitalized in one of the European clinics with a diagnosis of Guillain-Barré syndrome. A moderate, stable condition.”
At least five Russian oligarchs close to Putin have been murdered as the president purges his inner circle of former wealthy allies.
Since the start of the year, four gas industry bosses linked to the tyrant and a senior medical official have died in mysterious circumstances.
Some believe they were murdered amid alleged similarities in their deaths.
On February 25 – the day after Putin ordered his troops into Ukraine – the body of Alexander Tyulakov, a senior Gazprom finance and security official at deputy director general level, was found by her lover.
The 61-year-old’s neck was in a noose in his £500,000 home.
Just three weeks earlier – in the same elite closed housing estate in the Leningrad region – Leonid Shulman, transport manager at Gazprom Invest, was found dead.
The 60-year-old was discovered with multiple stab wounds in a pool of blood on his bathroom floor.
Meanwhile, wealthy Vladislav Avayev, 51, a former Gazprombank vice president and former Kremlin official, was found shot dead in his elite Moscow penthouse.
And a few days later Sergey Protosenya, 55, was found hanged in Spain.
Protosenya was a former vice president of Novotek, a company with close ties to the Kremlin.
He is considered the highest Russian official to resign for this reason.
He was a former Kremlin deputy prime minister who led the privatization of the Russian economy after the fall of communism in the government of Boris Yeltsin.
He remained a key figure under Putin and from 1998 until his exile this year he ran Russia’s state electricity monopoly RAO UES and its nanotechnology company RUSNANO.
In early June he was pictured in a Cypriot supermarket, and earlier it was reported that he had traveled to Israel and Turkey.
Guillain-Barré syndrome is a rare and serious condition that can be life threatening and affects the nerves in the feet, hands and limbs.
It causes numbness, weakness and pain.