Berezovsky Died By Hanging, British Cops Say

  on March 25 2013 8:43 PM
Boris Berezovsky
Self-exiled Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky was found dead at home in England Saturday. Reuters File Photo

 

Self-exiled Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky, whose body was found in the locked bathroom of his mansion near London Saturday, died by hanging, British police said on Monday.

Police said there were no signs of a violent struggle, adding that further tests on the body would be carried out, Reuters reported.

Earlier, a friend told the Guardian that Berezovsky had marks around his neck.

Nikolay Glushkov, who spoke to Galina Berezovsky after the ex-wife saw his body in the bathroom of the Berkshire mansion, said: "A scarf was there. There were traces of him being strangled around the neck."

The body of Berezovsky, 67, the ontime Kremlin power broker who fell out with Vladimir Putin and fled to Britain in 2000, was found in his sprawling property in Ascot, an affluent town near Windsor Castle.

Some of his associates speculated that Berezovsky killed himself because he had been severely depressed after losing a bruising $6 billion court battle last year against another Russian tycoon, Roman Abramovich.

"The results of the post-mortem examination, carried out by a Home Office pathologist, have found the cause of death is consistent with hanging," police said in a statement. "The pathologist has found nothing to indicate a violent struggle."

Detectives earlier had searched Berezovsky's house for traces of radiation and chemicals but found none, and said there was no evidence anyone else was involved in his death.

Berezovsky had survived several assassination attempts, including a bombing that decapitated his driver.

In exile, he often said he feared for his life, particularly after his friend and former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko died from radioactive polonium poisoning in 2006.

In Russia, Kremlin allies and pro-government media pressed ahead with portrayals of Berezovsky as a beaten man who had begged Putin's forgiveness in a last-ditch effort to return to his homeland, Reuters reported. Berezovsky's friends in London have denied this.

Nationalist politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky said he had met Berezovsky by chance in the Israeli resort of Eilat in January, and that Berezovsky had said he would do "anything Moscow and the Kremlin told him" in order to return to Russia.

"The only condition was a decree pardoning him" for the crimes he has been convicted of in Russia, Zhirinovsky told the daily Izvestia in an interview published on Monday.

Galina Berezovsky – who owns the house where her ex-husband was living – and other members of the family have been interviewed by police, the Guardian reports, and have been prepared for further questioning as police seek to piece together the last days of Berezovsky's life "to gain a better understanding of his state of mind" amid speculation of suicide.

The bodyguard, who was the only person at the house when the emergency services arrived on Saturday afternoon, was interviewed by police at length while still at the house and left early on Sunday.

Glushkov said he and some other Russian exiles did not believe Berezovsky killed himself. Instead, they think he may have been murdered. 

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