A former deputy minister of Poland who raised a fury by opposing the country’s entrance into the European Union (EU) has been found dead, apparently by committing suicide.
Andrzej Lepper was discovered by fellow party members hanging in his office in Warsaw on Friday afternoon.
"Police on the scene are investigating the circumstances of the incident, but all the indications are that we are dealing with suicide by hanging," said police spokesman Mariusz Sokolowski, according to the Daily Telegraph newspaper of UK.
"There is no evidence of the participation of a third party."
Lepper, who was 57, shot to fame by leading the populist Self-Defense Party which allegedly represented the interests of the rural poor. As a publicity stunt to express his strident opposition to Poland joining the EU, he once halted a train that was carrying grain from foreign nations and spilled the cargo onto the railway tracks.
He was also widely accused of anti-Semitism.
Six years ago, his Self-Defense party gained 11 percent of the vote in general elections, with Lepper coming in third in the presidential poll.
He subsequently became agriculture minister and deputy prime minister in the coalition government.
A former colleague of Lepper, Janusz Maksymiuk, told Polish TV that he saw him on Thursday and there was nothing that seemed to be wrong.
"Andrzej Lepper was a hard man. I can't imagine what would make him [kill himself]," he told TVP television.
Lepper’s political career was damaged in late 2006 when he was accused of seeking sexual favors from a female party worker in exchange for a promotion. Four years later, in connection with that scandal, he received a prison term for two years and three months. However, he skipped jail by appealing the verdict.
At the time of his death, he was still facing charges related to the case.