BORIS Berezovsky, the Russian oligarch found lying on his bathroom floor with a ligature around his neck, was in good spirits the night before his died and was looking forward to a holiday to Israel, according to his girlfriend.
Katerina Sabirova, 23, said she did not believe he had killed himself and said that he sounded “better than usual” when she spoke to him. She said they were due to go to the Dead Sea three days later.
A post-mortem conducted last month found that Mr Berezovsky's death was "consistent with hanging" and that there were no signs of violence or "third party" involvement.
In an interview with New Times, a weekly Russian newspaper, she said: “He was definitely planning to come to Israel on Monday [March 25]. I know that for sure.”
“[Berezovsky] used to say: ‘Imagine if I’m not around, all the problems will go away,’ but this wasn’t a guide to action, I could not and cannot imagine that he could do this. It’s very hard to believe this,” Sabirova said.
Berezovsky was due to meet her at Tel Aviv airport’s VIP lounge, after flying out with his bodyguard Avi, she said. He had proposed the trip on March 18, as Sabirova’s British visa had run out.
The magazine printed a photograph of Sabirova, a pretty brunette, with Berezovsky, his arm around her shoulder. Friends of Berezovsky confirmed that they were in a long-term relationship, it said.
Sabirova also confirmed that Berezovsky had discussed with her his letter to Putin asking for forgiveness, whose existence was revealed after Berezovsky’s death by Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov.
“He said that he did not see another way (to return to Russia) than to bow down,” she said, adding that she saw a draft and inferred that Berezovsky sent it in November.
Friends of Berezovsky said that he had been extremely depressed after losing a multi-million-pound court battle against fellow oligarch Roman Abramovich, owner of Chelsea football club, last year.
A post mortem examination last month found that the cause of death was “consistent with hanging” and there were no signs of foul play at the scene.
He was last seen alive at 9.05pm last Friday by the same bodyguard who found him at around 3.20pm on Saturday, March 23.
DI Bissell told the inquest: “The scene is currently under police control as it has been for several days and the search of the property remains in progress and is likely to remain so for the next few days.
“A post mortem examination was carried out on March 25. The results have found the cause of death was consistent with hanging. The pathologist has found nothing to suggest a violent struggle nor the involvement of a third party, though this cannot be completely ruled out at this stage as the investigation continues.”
- Steven Swinford, Telegraph.co.uk