Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky was hanged, police say
Published 26/03/2013 | 12:41
RUSSIAN oligarch Boris Berezovsky died from hanging and there was no evidence of a violent struggle before his death, police have said
The results of a post-mortem examination carried out yesterday appear to support the theory that he killed himself.
Police will now carry out toxicology tests on samples from his body to look for drugs and alcohol, likely to take several weeks, while forensic examinations continue at his house.
Mr Berezovsky was left unguarded for five hours before he was discovered lying dead on the floor of his bathroom.
His bodyguard said that he left his employer alone in the house at around 10am on Saturday to run a series of errands.
He did not return until around 3pm, when he discovered a number of missed calls on Mr Berezovsky's phone.
He forced his way through the bathroom door, which was locked from the inside, and discovered Mr Berezovsky lying dead on the floor.
According to the bodyguard, he was fully clothed. After checking for a pulse, he called a paramedic and Mr Berezovsky was pronounced dead at the scene.
Mr Berezovsky's body was removed from the property on Monday morning, and police said that while his death was "unexplained" there was no evidence to suggest the involvement of a "third party".
On Monday night Thames Valley police were waiting for the results of a post-mortem, which was conducted by a Home Office pathologist.
Mr Berezovsky's bodyguard, who reportedly formerly worked for Mossad, was the oligarch's only remaining security.
The oligarch, who had been the target of repeated assassination attempts, had previously employed a five-strong security detail to protect him, including former members of the French Foreign Legion.
However, last year Mr Berezovsky became severely depressed after losing one of the world's biggest ever private litigations against Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea Football Club.
The case left him with a £70million legal bill and he became "extremely depressed". He was forced to sell his home in Surrey and sack his security detail and chauffeur. One friend told The Daily Telegraph: "He thought after losing the case and all his money they wouldn't consider him worth killing."
Yuri Dubov, a writer and one of Mr Berezovsky's closest friends, arrived at the house hours after Mr Berezovsky was found dead and spoke at length to Mr Berezovsky's bodyguard.
He said that at 10.30pm on Friday night, Mr Berezovsky had given the bodyguard a series of errands for him to do the following day. It was the last time he was seen alive.
The following morning, he left the house at around 10am. Mr Dubov said:"He [the bodyguard] was out. When he came in he saw Boris's mobile phone with a number of unanswered calls.
"He got worried and forced his way into the bathroom. He didn't find a suicide note. He said Mr Berezovsky was fully clothed and there was no blood."
Mr Berezovsky’s former wife Galina, who owns the house and allowed him to live there, arrived while the paramedic was still there.
According to friends she saw a scarf by his body and allegedly emerged from the scene believing he may have been murdered. Mr Berezovsky’s friends are also sceptical about suicide, including the widow of murdered KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko.
The cause of Mr Berezovsky’s death has been the subject of fevered speculation around the world.
Sergei Markov, an advisor of President Vladimir Putin, claimed on Monday that he may have been murdered by British spies to stop him leaving state secrets to the Russians.
Less than 24 hours before his death Mr Berezovsky told a Russian reporter that he wanted to return to his homeland.
Mr Markov said: “It became clear he was ready to give out all information to the Russian secret services on those in the Western secret services who are trying to work on throwing Putin down. So they got rid of him.”
Despite Mr Berezovsky’s financial difficulties, a woman embroiled in a high-profile divorce claimed he had been “hiding” money belonging to her ex-husband.
Michelle Young first made allegations against Mr Berezovsky two years ago when giving evidence during her High Court battle with former husband Scot Young.
Mr Berezovsky had denied Ms Young's claims, describing them as "false and ludicrous".
But one of Ms Young's lawyers repeated the claim during a High Court hearing in London on Monday.