A Russian businessman has offered a $1 million bounty for Vladimir Putin on a poster saying: ‘Wanted: Dead or Alive’.
Alex Konanykhin said on various social media posts that he would pay the money for the ‘arrest of Putin as a war criminal under international law’.
Konanykhin claimed that the Russian president could not be called the leader of his country because he ‘murdered his opponents’.
The post included a mocked up poster which read: ‘Wanted: Dead or Alive. Vladimir Putin. For Mass Murder.’
After Facebook banned the post, Konanykhin insisted he was not asking for people to kill Putin and wanted him ‘brought to justice’.
The post said: ‘I promise to pay $1,000,000 to the officer(s) who, complying with their constitutional duty, arrest(s) Putin as a war criminal under Russian and international laws.
‘Putin is not the Russian president as he came to power as the result of a special operation of blowing up apartment buildings in Russia, then violated the Constitution by eliminating free elections and murdering his opponents.
‘As an ethnic Russian and a Russian citizen, I see it as my moral duty to facilitate the denazification of Russia.
‘I will continue my assistance to Ukraine in its heroic efforts to withstand the onslaught of Putin’s Orda.’
After the story was reported on – and Facebook banned the post – Konanykhin re-published his offer without the dead or alive poster.
He clarified that payment is meant for Putin’s arrest and not his assassination, writing on Linkedin: ‘Some reports suggest that I promised to pay for the assassination of Putin. It is NOT correct. While such an outcome would be cheered by millions of people around the world, I believe that Putin must be brought to justice.’
In another post, he urged other wealthy people to chip in to the bounty.
‘If a thousand people chip in a million each, it’d add up to a billion’, he wrote.
Konanykhin told Business Insider that he had put up the bounty — which will come from his own funds — to show that the military assault on Ukraine is not being conducted in his name.
‘If enough other people make similar statements, it may increase the chances of Putin getting arrested and brought to justice,’ he added.
Konanykhin, 55, is a wealthy entrepreneur who served on a Russian delegation to the US in 1992 under its then President Boris Yeltsin.
But he fell out with the Kremlin after it he was accused of embezzling $8 million from the Russian Exchange Bank in Moscow and was granted asylum to stay in the US in 2007.
Konanykhin is currently part of the ‘Circle of Money’ on the TV show ‘Unicorn Hunters’ – a tech version of Shark Tank, alongside Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.
He studied at the Moscow Physics and Technical Institute before dropping out and starting several businesses including real estate and banking.
By the early 1990s, Konanykhin was said to be worth $300 million and ran more than 100 companies.
Then in1996, after the Russians accused him of embezzlement, he and his wife were arrested in the US for allegedly breaching their visas.
During the trial, FBI agents claimed that the Russian mafia had taken out a contract on Konanykhin’s life. The businessman claimed that people at the Russian Exchange Bank threatened him, forcing him to flee.
The case was settled and Konanykhin was given political asylum but his status was revoked in 2004. He was given asylum for good in 2007 and now runs remote working company TransparentBusiness.
In recent Facebook posts Konanykhin has called Russia a ‘fascist state’ and said it was ‘pushing the world towards nuclear annihilation’.
Many people praised him for offering money for Putin’s arrest.
The Russian president has been accused of committing war crimes after evidence emerged of Moscow using cluster bombs to target civilian infrastructure.
The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court plans to open an investigation into his invasion of Ukraine.
Ukraine’s emergency service said on Wednesday that the war has killed more than 2,000 civilians and destroyed hundreds of structures including transport facilities, hospitals, kindergartens and homes.
More than one million people have fled the fighting, but the UN estimates the number of displaced people will grow to at least four million.
Earlier, Russia announced a temporary ceasefire in two key cities to allow civilians to leave.
But within hours, it was accused of breaking its agreement, with Ukraine saying peace was not being observed alongside the entire evacuation route.