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U.K. Coroner Rules Exiled Russian Critic Of Putin Was Strangled

Nikolai Glushkov, ex-deputy director general of Aeroflot airlines company, was found dead at his home in London in 2018.
Nikolai Glushkov, ex-deputy director general of Aeroflot airlines company, was found dead at his home in London in 2018.

A British coroner has determined that an exiled Russian critic of President Vladimir Putin was strangled to death by "a third party" at his home in a southwest suburb of London.

Self-exiled Russian businessman Nikolai Glushkov was found dead at his home in New Malden, England, in March 2018.

Senior coroner Chinyere Inyama ruled that Glushkov was "unlawfully killed" after the West London Coroner's Court heard evidence suggesting his death was made to look like a suicide and that there had been "third-party involvement."

Glushkov fled Russia after authorities accused him of fraud during his time as deputy director of the state-owned Aeroflot airline.

He was granted political asylum in the United Kingdom in 2010.

He had been a close friend of the exiled Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, also a vocal critic of Putin, who was found hanged at his home west of London in 2013.

In 2017, during Glushkov's trial in absentia, a Russian court convicted him of stealing about $120 million from Aeroflot. It sentenced him to eight years in prison.

Glushkov had been due to appear at the Commercial Court in London to defend himself on March 12, 2018 -- the day his body was discovered by his daughter, Natalia.

His death came a week after the Novichok poisoning in Salisbury, England, of the Russian former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia.

'Unlawful Killing'

A pathology report presented to the West London Coroner's Court said Glushkov's injuries "could be consistent with a neck-hold, applied from behind, and the assailant being behind the victim."

The pathology report said: "There is a lack of injuries to suggest prolonged grappling or restraint with the third party, and a lack of injuries of a defensive nature to the upper limbs."

The coroner's verdict said: "From all the documentation, all the evidence gathered, Nikolai Glushkov died from an unlawful killing."

British detectives are renewing an appeal for witnesses who were in the New Malden area on March 11-12, 2018.

The inquest coincides with a renewed appeal by London's Met Police counterterrorism unit for more information about Glushkov's death.

Commander Richard Smith says more than 1,800 potential witnesses have been contacted and more than 420 statements taken.

London police say no arrests have been made and a motive for the killing has not yet been established.

With reporting by Reuters and BBC
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