COPS in the UK are probing an alleged kill order from Putin's cronies against a Russian exile who claims he has faced three assassination attempts.
Igor Sychev, 48, recently received his latest death threat – seen by The Sun – that promises to make his murder look like a “poison suicide” or “freak fall accident”.
The father-of-two left his world behind in March 2016 when he fled Russia after multiple threats were made against his family and alleged attempts were made to end his life.
It came after he took his former company PhosAgro – owned and run by oligarchs and pals of Putin – to court for reportedly not paying him.
A spokesperson for the firm told The Sun that they have "been the subject of numerous wild and unsubstantiated allegations by Mr Sychev".
But Igor said the fallout of the dispute has fuelled almost a decade of pain.
A refugee in Latvia since 2018, Igor explained that he lives in constant fear of being killed after a nine-year nightmare ordeal that saw his life spiral into despair.
He lost his job, home, family and finally his country.
Igor fears the death threats and assassination attempts are linked to the ongoing case – but it hasn't stopped him from fighting back.
"I just want to get justice," he told The Sun.
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In recordings of phone calls also heard by The Sun – which have also been submitted to Latvian and UK police – Igor was warned that he and his family will be killed unless he dropped the case.
The threat to the exiled Russian’s life has become so serious in recent weeks that Latvian authorities have reportedly asked him to enter witness protection.
Igor spent two decades working for PhosAgro – the Russian fertiliser company – and in 2014, he helped the company settle some high-profile tax disputes.
“I did my part of the work perfectly, and I was supposed to receive a reward of one per cent of the shares," he claimed.
Instead, he alleged that the company tricked him and refused to pay what he was owed.
Igor launched a court case against them in the UK.
And while the case was ongoing, he suffered three near-fatal car crashes in Moscow.
With chilling repetition, in each harrowing experience "a wheel flew off and the brakes were turned off and two out of three cars were just in pieces".
A horrifying video showed the moment one car lost a wheel and careered down the motorway with an eruption of sparks before crashing.
I became their number one enemy because I made a fool out of them
Photographs also showed the aftermath of the alleged assassination attempts – three brand new Jeeps battered beyond repair.
"The most important thing is that they tried to stage them as car accidents… it was a pure miracle that I survived," he said.
Igor claimed Russian investigators confirmed the vehicles had been deliberately tampered with and a criminal case was opened.
“Shortly after that, the case vanished without any documentary traces," he said.
In return for his survival, Igor claimed Russian authorities brought a "fabricated" criminal case against him and soon his house was being raided by police.
He described how armed men came to his house with dogs, threatened him and his heavily pregnant wife, stole his passport and announced that he would be arrested in eight days.
“When they thought that I was their hostage, [PhosAgro] associates contacted me demanding that I should stop my pursuit of them in the court and pay £3million to Russian police as a bribe," Igor claimed.
The 48-year-old managed to flee the country using a second secret passport stored at the UK embassy.
Yet, even outside Russia – safety still eluded him.
“When they realised that I outsmarted them, I became kind of their number one enemy because I made a fool of them," he claimed.
"I suppose this is the main reason why they hate me so much.
"They put so much effort into this fabricated criminal case against me."
Igor secretly made a series of recordings of threats allegedly from PhosAgro representatives, in which they persistently try and terrify him into ending his battle against the company.
The threats are now in the hands of various police forces and include, as Igor’s lawyer states, "threats of physical elimination".
In one recording, a man is heard yelling in Russian: "You can be killed today or tomorrow."
"You will lose your wife and children," another caller threatened.
"Why do you need this war?"
As many of the calls and emails to Igor came from Britain, he has now asked the UK’s National Crime Agency to investigate.
Detective Inspector Michael O’Sullivan from City of London Police said they are looking into the allegations.
"We have had a report of malicious communications. We treat any such allegations seriously," he told The Sun.
"We will not be commenting further at this stage.”
The National Crime Agency spokesperson told The Sun: "We do not comment on the existence or otherwise of individual investigations."
A translated list of some of the threats Igor has received:
- "You don’t understand that you can be killed today or tomorrow, Igor?! Especially since everyone knows that you are in Riga, everyone knows!”
- “Stop it, you will save your life, do you understand?”
- “Igor, I ask you: give up all this! Waive, I beg you! You will lose your wife and children! Why do you need this war, tell me?!”
- "This issue can be solved in different ways, but there is, of course, a risk for you that we can eliminate so that they do not order to kill you"
- "You will not have life…"
Igor also has evidence of multiple emails from unknown senders attaching quotes for pre-paid funerals both for him and members of his family.
On May 22, Igor said he received the message he most feared – an email from a man who "stumbled on information and evidence about murder plans against [Igor]".
The mystery sender wrote: "Igor, I wish to bring your attention to the below: Order to kill you.
"By poison to make it look like suicide, or a freak fall to make it look like an accident."
Days of emails followed with further alleged confirmations, including "the threats to your life are real" and "they must finish the mission as soon as possible".
When asked why he keeps fighting the case, Igor said: "The question is difficult.
"It has been going on for nine years so far and just dropping this would be foolish. I just want to get justice."
Referencing the alleged assassination attempts, he said: "PhosAgro wanted to quickly put an end to this whole thing, to close this story.
"They wanted to do it on their terms. But they couldn't."
But Igor fears further retribution for his refusal to stand down or go quiet.
“The situation is getting worse and I am more afraid for my life, because now they have ruined their reputation so much," he said.
"They want to save face and my murder would solve a lot of problems for them."
In terms of his family, he added: "I hoped that by divorcing my wife, it would provide some kind of safety for them."
They remain in Russia and he hasn't seen either of his two children in seven years.
Igor will likely never return to his homeland as he remains a wanted man pursued by police and very powerful elites.
"Even if they stop their case against me, I wouldn't return until Putin's reign has ended and justice might one day be served," he said.
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A spokesperson for PhosAgro claimed Igor's court claims against them have failed and that he is not entitled to any money from the company.
"His latest attempt in contacting you is yet another desperate example of his doomed attempts to extract monies out of PhosAgro," they told The Sun.
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