Former KGB spy and Russian oligarch Vyacheslav Rovneiko dies suddenly in Moscow aged 59

Image of badge of Russia's KGB intelligence service. Credit: tlegend/

Vyacheslav Rovneiko, a major Russian oil tycoon and former KGB spy died suddenly at home aged 59.


Vyacheslav Rovneiko, believed to have been a former KGB spy, was found dead at his home near Moscow late on Wednesday, February 22. The 59-year-old was the co-founder of Urals Energy, the Russian energy giant, and was a major oligarch in the 1990s and 2000s.

The deceased tycoon passed away suddenly at his cottage on Rublevo-Uspenskoye Highway. As reported by a local news channel, Rovneiko was discovered unconscious but despite the efforts of medical teams to save his life, he passed away.

Rovneiko founded Urals Energy with Leonid Dyachenko, the former Russian president Boris Yeltsin’s son-in-law. There were: “no signs of a violent death were found on his body”, a police report said, according to

He was known to have graduated from Moscow’s prestigious school for diplomats and spies, the Institute of International Relations (MGIMO). Not a lot is known of his time with the intelligence services. Rovneiko was said to have been highly secretive, with Russian business databases revealing him to be a man without a face.

At the height of the Cold War, it is thought that the ex-KGB spy operated on Belgian soil, with reports claiming he possessed a Belgian passport in 2006. One of his associates at that time was Sergei Naryshkin who is now the head of Russia’s foreign intelligence agency, the SVR.

One of his close friends is reported to have been one of Vladimir Putin’s most loyal oligarchs, the billionaire businessman, Gennady Timchenko. According to reports, Rovneiko had business interests linked to companies in Cyrpus, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the United Kingdom.


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Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at