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U.K. Police Say Berezovsky Found With 'Ligature Around Neck'

  • RFE/RL

Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky leaves London's High Court on August 31, 2012.

Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky leaves London's High Court on August 31, 2012.

British police have told an official inquest into the death of Boris Berezovsky that the former Russian oligarch was found lying on the bathroom floor "with a ligature around his neck" and a piece of the same material on a shower rail above him.

A police official said that although a postmortem had found no signs of a struggle, the involvement of a third party "cannot be completely eliminated."

The 67-year-old was found dead on March 23 at his mansion west of London.

The inquest by British authorities into his death began on March 28.

Berezovsky, a onetime Kremlin insider who turned into an outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, lived in self-imposed exile in Britain.

Police had said that a postmortem examination found his death "consistent with hanging," suggesting he probably killed himself.

But police say toxicology tests are still being carried out and it could be several weeks before the results are known.

Berezovsky's body was found by an employee on March 23. Detective Inspector Mark Bissell told the coroner's inquest on March 28 that the employee had last seen Berezovsky alive at around 9 p.m. the night before.

The inquest later adjourned to a date yet to be fixed.



'An Optimistic Man'

Friends said Berezovsky had become depressed recently after a series of financial setbacks.

However, Andrei Sidelnikov, the former leader of a Russian opposition youth movement and a friend of Berezovsky's, suggested he found it hard to believe Berezovsky took his own life.

"[Berezovsky] was depressed in this past year but, having known Boris for a long time, I can say that he had his ups and downs but he was always capable of recovering, standing up, and carrying on," Sidelnikov said.

"He was an optimistic man, so none of his friends or associates can believe that he committed suicide."

The coroner in charge of the inquest said Thursday he would allow a funeral to take place once he had enough information.

With reporting by Reuters and AFP
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