Dead Russian tycoon found in bathroom locked from inside
The lifeless body of Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky was found by a member of staff at his mansion in Berkshire, England, inside a bathroom that had been locked from the inside, police have said.
Officers investigating the death of the Russian businessman and political powerbroker at his home in Ascot said they were "retaining an open mind" about how he died, but added that the crime scene showed "no signs of third-party involvement".
A handheld device that tests for background radiation – carried by one of the paramedics who were called to his mansion – sounded on exiting the property.
As a result, specialist chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear officers were called in to inspect the house for hazardous substances – but they found nothing and gave police the all- clear to enter.
Thames Valley Police said that one of Mr Berezovsky's employees claims to have found him on the floor of his bathroom at 3pm on Saturday, after becoming concerned over his whereabouts.
The person, understood to be his bodyguard, forced his way through the door, which was locked from the inside.
A very public enemy of Vladimir Putin's Kremlin, the tycoon was facing severe financial and personal problems.
Having led an unimaginably extravagant lifestyle in his 67 years, it is unsurprising that foul play, suicide and natural causes have all been cited as potential causes for his death.
Police have not revealed what state Mr Berezovsky's body was in when paramedics arrived. A post-mortem is unlikely to take place until today at the earliest.
Mr Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov elaborated on a letter supposedly written by Mr Berezovsky to the Russian president a few months ago, in which he is said to have asked for forgiveness for his mistakes and permission to return to Russia.
"The letter was addressed to Putin personally, and I don't know if he will want to make the full text public," said Mr Peskov, who added that he had seen the letter, but did not know if Mr Putin had replied.
He also said that if a request was made, the Kremlin would consider allowing Mr Berezovsky's funeral to take place in Russia.
"It's true that he always wanted to go back to Russia, but I don't believe he wrote to Putin, this sounds like something made up by Putin's people," said Evgeny Chichvarkin, a Russian businessman who fled to London in 2009 after criminal charges were launched against him in Russia. (© Independent News Service)