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Britain Opens Inquest Into Russian Businessman's 'Murder'


Nikolai Glushkov is shown in Moscow in December 2000

A British court has opened an inquest to establish the circumstances surrounding the death of Russian businessman Nikolai Glushkov, who was found at his home in London earlier this month.

The inquest at West London Coroner's Court comes amid a diplomatic dispute following the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury.

But police say there is "nothing to suggest any link” to the attempted murders of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, nor “any evidence” that Glushkov was poisoned.

West London Coroner's Court heard evidence of how paramedics arrived at Glushkov’s home in London on March 12 and declared him dead shortly after.

Court officer Terry Waple confirmed that a postmortem had concluded that Glushkov died of “compression to the neck.”

The inquest was later adjourned pending further police investigation.

The court proceedings are to determine when and where Glushkov died, his medical cause of death, and the circumstances surrounding it.

Also on March 22, the Russian ambassador to Britain, Aleksandr Yakovenko, suggested that Britain was “deliberately ignoring our requests and continues to avoid any contacts” with Russia’s Embassy to London on the case.

Police have launched a murder investigation and said counterterrorism officers were leading the case "because of the associations Mr. Glushkov is believed to have had."

Glushkov had lived in London in recent years, after being granted political asylum in Britain in 2010 and becoming a critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

A former deputy director of Russian state airline Aeroflot, Glushkov was jailed in 1999 for five years for money laundering and fraud. He was also given a suspended sentence for another count of fraud in 2006.

Glushkov was a close associate of Russian oligarch turned Kremlin critic Boris Berezovsky, who was found hanged in his home outside London in 2013.

An inquest failed to establish if he had committed suicide.

Sergei and Yulia Skripal remain hospitalized and in critical condition after they were found collapsed on a bench in the southern English city of Salisbury on March 4. Britain accuses Russia of using a military-grade nerve agent known as Novichok against the pair, while Moscow denies involvement.

With reporting by AFP, dpa, The Guardian, and TASS
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