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Boris Berezovsky: Russian Oligarch Found Dead

 

It is believed the former billionaire, who had fallen out with the Kremlin, took his own life but no reports have been confirmed.

Lord Bell, the advertising and PR executive, confirmed his death, adding: "His body was found by his bodyguard.

"No other details are available at this time."

Thames Valley Police confirmed they had launched an investigation into the death of a 67-year-old man at a property in Ascot, Berkshire.

His death was "currently unexplained" and a "full inquiry under way", police said.

His lawyer Alexander Dobrovinsky told Russian state television that he had been informed by contacts in London that Mr Berezovsky had killed himself.

He said: "Berezovsky has been in a terrible state as of late. He was in debt. He felt destroyed. He was forced to sell his paintings and other things."

Mr Berezovsky made his fortune in Russia in the 1990s when he bought up state assets which were being sold off cheaply.

Mr Berezovsky had lived in Great Britain from 2000 having fled from Russia after falling out with Russia's leader.

He was also a friend of the murdered dissident Alexander Litvinenko, who died in London after consuming radioactive Polonium in 2006.

In 1997 Forbes magazine estimated Mr Berezovsky's wealth at US$3bn but in recent years his wealth had been considerably reduced.

It is thought he had done badly in the financial crisis. In 2009 his wealth was estimated at £450m but he is thought to have spent £100m on the £3.7bn lawsuit against Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich last year, which he lost.

James Nixey, head of Chatham House's Russia programme, said: "He is the most virulently anti-Kremlin, anti-Putin of the oligarchs.

"He was certainly willing to spend his money, what little he had left, in an attempt to use it to end the current regime in Russia."

He added: "He had bodyguards, there were attempts on his life that even the security service in the UK had warned him about.

"It's certainly not the first case of Russians and people from the former Soviet Union, more broadly, who have been involved in difficult, embarrassing disputes with the Kremlin, to have died in relatively mysterious circumstances, perhaps before you might expect their natural life to end.”

However, speaking to Sky News, a friend of Mr Berezovsky said that she did not think his death suspicious.

Sasha Nerozina said: "There is nothing to be suspicious about, as far as I understand."

She said: "It is shocking, terrible news. It is not something you expect. He was full of life and love."

She said that Mr Berezovsky had been left "demoralised" by losing the high-profile legal battle with Mr Abramovich last year.

But she said: "Boris cannot be dead - it is almost incredible to put those words together. We expected him to outlive us all."

Mr Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian state TV that Mr Berezovsky had recently written to the President to ask for a pardon and to say that he wanted to return to Russia.

He said: "He asked Putin for forgiveness for his mistakes and asked him to obtain the opportunity to return to the motherland."

Lord Truscott, who has written a biography of Vladimir Putin, said: "Was it suicide or was it murder? He had a lot of contact with people in Russia. There could be a whole host of people who could want to see him dead.

"Last year he lost a case against Mr Abramovich and was getting very short of money. He could have been in a depressed state. Perhaps it was a final desperation."

Related Stories

Litvinenko: Russia 'Was Involved' In Death

Abramovich Wins £3bn High Court Battle

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An old friend of mine has just come back from 4 years living and working in Moscow. She said its probably the least hospitable, least pleasant city to live in in the world. Everything there is brutal and ruled over by nasty corrupt c****.

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Lovely isn't he? That country's f***ed.

 

I can't imagine it was worse during the height of the Cold War. Loads of people try to suggest that any negative press towards him or Russia as it is now, is just right wing (or right of centre) press beating it down because they're scared of Russia gaining strength and confidence. The place is f***ed with a truyly nasty b*****d pulling all of the strings

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