Igor Sychev
Igor Sychev worked for PhosAgro for 18 years, as the Head of the Tax Department.

Igor Sychev, 48, fled Russia as an exile in 2016. While in Russia, Sychev already received multiple death threats against himself and his family.

Since then, after moving to Latvia, the father-of-two told International Business Times UK that he has been victim to several Putin-backed assassination attempts and the threat of "physical elimination".

"I have been a refugee from Russia since 2016 due to a shocking story related to sanctioned Russian oligarchs close to Putin," Sychev said.

Sychev said that he was targeted by Moscow after he took PhosAgro, a Russian fertiliser company, to court for failing to pay him.

PhosAgro is owned and operated by a group of Russian oligarchs, business leaders with a great deal of political influence, who have been sanctioned by the UK for being in close connection to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In March last year, less than one month after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the London Stock Exchange (LSE) suspended trading with PhosAgro for its strong links to Russian politics.

The Russian fertiliser company is chaired by Xavier Rolet, the former Managing Director of the LSE Group, and has billionaire shareholders including Andrei Guriev, a Russian Businessman who was put on the list of sanctions by the European Union.

Sychev told International Business Times UK that he worked for PhosAgro for 18 years as the Head of the Tax Department.

"I saved them about one billion dollars and they promised me one per cent of shares of PhosAgro," the 48-year-old said, noting that the company claimed to have not paid the amount considering "it was an oral agreement and I would not be able to prove it".

"But I have audio recordings of those conversations", Sychev added.

Before he fled Russia, the father-of-two told International Business Times UK that he was a victim of three serious car wrecks. Sychev said that the car crashes were assassination attempts, sent by Russian oligarchs.

Igor Sychev
Igor Sychev

"Those car accidents began when I insisted our agreement about the one per cent shares should be formulated in writing. That's when all three of my cars experienced brake malfunctions and wheel detachments," Sychev explained.

With reference to documents that quote the opinions of car manufacturing experts, including Nissan Manufacturing, the father-of-two claimed that the car accidents "were deliberate actions of some people who wanted to kill me".

Igor Sychev
Igor Sychev

The former PhosAgro employee went on to accuse the Russian oligarchs of additional attempts on his life.

"Last summer I began to receive emails saying that Russian oligarchs, my opponents, ordered my murder by poisoning, staging an accident or suicide," he said.

In emails seen by International Business Times, on 22 May last year, Sychev received a death threat warning from an anonymous sender.

The email read: "Order to kill you. By poison to make it look like suicide, or a freak fall to make it look like an accident."

Sychev said that shortly after receiving the email, he witnessed "an incident similar to an attempted poisoning".

"One day, while leaving the apartment, I discovered that the outside door handle was greased with something. The next morning, I woke up with very unusual symptoms and I could hardly get out of bed," the father-of-two explained.

"I thought that if I didn't feel better the next day, I would call an ambulance. However, the next morning all the symptoms disappeared, as if they had never existed," Sychev added.

In the hope of protecting the lives of his ex-wife and two children, who according to Sychev, have had their lives threatened in Russia, the former PhosAgro employee said that he was forced to file for a divorce and has not seen his children for almost ten years.

Igor Sychev
Sychev said that he was targeted by the Russian oligarchs after he took PhosAgro, a Russian fertiliser company, to court for failing to pay him. Igor Sychev

Sychev told International Business Times UK: "My family has broken after my fleeing from Russia. It's a big tragedy for me. I can't return to Russia since there is a fabricated criminal case against me there."

In 2022, "the Latvian police opened a criminal case on the death threats", Sychev added, but there has been little development.

Sychev said that "the City of London Police are investigating the information about the order to kill me", but the 48-year-old has since pleaded with the force to take his case to the UK's National Crime Agency for a further investigation into the Russian oligarchs.

"I don't have any information about the progress of the investigation. It's strange," Sychev added.

The Russian exile continued to urge the NCA to take his case, noting that his experiences also highlighted the corruption of British lawyers.

Detective Inspector Michael O'Sullivan confirmed that City of London Police "have had a report of malicious communications", however, O'Sullivan also said that City of London Police "will not be commenting further at this stage".

"We treat any such allegations seriously," the Detective Inspector added.

Sychev told International Business Times UK that he is currently using media coverage as a new tool to save his life.

The former PhosArgo employee explained: "It's about my safety. How else can I ensure my safety and safety of my children? Some threats are directed against my children, it's awful!"

In response to Sychev's accusations, a spokesperson for PhosAgro said that it has been "he subject of numerous wild and unsubstantiated allegations by Mr Sychev, which he has put before the English Courts on every possible occasion in a desperate attempt to justify claims that have been struck out against PhosAgro".

"His latest attempt in contacting you is yet another desperate example of his doomed attempts to extract monies out of PhosAgro," the Russian fertiliser company added.