Vladimir Putin's web-snooping guru sustained a mysterious "painful fracture" just one day before he was found dead.
Anton Cherepennikov, 40, died suddenly in his Moscow office earlier this month.
The multi-millionaire was in charge of Russia's repressive internet monitoring and phone tapping apparatus.
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His cause of death was announced as "cardiac arrest" before a post-mortem was carried out. However, the VChK-OGPU Telegram channel has reported he suffered "a serious ‘fresh’ fracture".
It claimed he was using "gas" to alleviate the pain and that the "fracture that most likely led to death" after possibly causing a "blood clot".
The Telegram channel claims to have sources within Russian law enforcement.
An informer was quoted as saying: "It was later established that he went to a private clinic, where he was X-rayed, which revealed a fracture.
"The businessman was warned about the danger of a fracture, as the situation required surgical intervention.
"Under the supervision of a personal doctor, [he] decided to use some gas from a cylinder and during the procedure began to suffocate and died."
The report stated there were just two men at the scene when police arrived, Cherepennikov's bodyguard and personal doctor.
"[He] was not sick and did not take any drugs," the source said. "There were no signs of torture, no noisy party in the office, only a few cigarette butts lay alone in the ashtray."
Police removed a gas cylinder marked "oxygen" from the scene, the report stated.
The VChK-OGPU Telegram channel previously claimed Cherepennikov was undergoing xenon inhalation therapy, used to combat depression.
One opposition source said after his death: "He was an absolutely key tool in Putin’s repression.
"His assassination cannot be ruled out as the security apparatus becomes desperate due to the failing war."
Cherepennikov's firm Citadel has been described as having "almost a monopoly on the wiretapping of Russians" after laws introduced in the country saw all text messages stored for six months.
He is understood to have worked closely with the feared FSB security services and reports claimed his state snooping operation earned him £172million.
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