Russian billionaire Vyacheslav Taran, president of Libertex Group and founder of Forex Club, died Nov. 25 in a helicopter crash in France while en route from Lausanne, Switzerland to Monaco. He was 53. The helicopter pilot, the only other person aboard the craft, also died.

Libertex has confirmed Taran’s death, stating:

“It is with great sadness that Libertex Group confirms the death of its co-founder and Chairman of Board of Directors, Vyacheslav Taran, after a helicopter crash that took place en route to Monaco on Friday, 25 November 2022.”

Taran, who was trained as a radio engineer, founded the foreign exchange trading platform Forex Club in Russia in 1997. Forex Club became one of the three leading exchanges in the country before the Russian Central Bank closed it and a number of other exchanges in December 2018 for irregularities in their registrations. Forex Club Group continues to operate in more than 100 other countries.

The Libertex trading platform was established in 2012 as part of the Forex Club Group and registered in Cyprus. It offers a wide range of financial products, including cryptocurrency trading and “in-app crypto mining software” and is a sponsor of Bayern Munich football club. According to Russian media, Taran was associated with the YouHodler wallet and Wirex app and card, as well as several other investment and real estate companies.

Taran was also the founder of the Change One Life charitable foundation, which provides assistance to Russian orphans and adoptive families.

Taran is the third crypto executive to die unexpectedly in recent weeks. Amber Group co-founder Tiantian "TT" Kullander died on Nov. 23 in his sleep at the age of 30, and MakerDAO co-founder Nikolai Mushegian drowned in Puerto Rico on Oct. 28 at the age of 29. Taran is also the latest in a long string of Russian businessmen to die under various circumstances.

Taran’s death has led to some speculation in the press. The helicopter accident that claimed Taran’s life is under investigation; It took place in good weather conditions with an experienced pilot. According to France Bleu, a second passenger was booked for the flight but canceled at the last minute.

The Ukrainian news agency Unian alleged that Taran had ties to Russian intelligence, but Taran’s wife Olga denied that claim strongly in an Instagram post. She also pointed out that Taran founded a charitable organization for Ukrainian children in 2014 and was involved in the establishment of to assist Ukrainian refugees in Montenegro. 

Taran is survived by his wife Olga and three children, including an adopted son.