Sudden death of Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky raises eyebrows
The sudden death of Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky may not have been accidental, with many suggesting that he did not take his own life, the international media reports.
“It is not impossible that Berezovsky could have been liquidated,” professor at the Plekhanov University of Economics, Sergei Markov, commented,” The Moscow Times wrote, March 24.
Berezovsky, who had been in exile in the U.K since 2000, was found dead in his luxury property, located in southern England, on Saturday March 23. The media immediately started speculating on the nature of his demise, with many suggesting that it may not have been an accident.
However, the fact remains that Berezovsky was viewed by many as a broken man. He lost his USD 6.5 bln litigation case against his former business partner – another U.K exile Roman Abramovich – in 2012, and incurred some of the largest court bills on record. The judge presiding in the case said that Berezovsky had been “deliberately dishonest” and announced to the court room that he had molded the truth to suit his own purpose.
Berezovsky maintained that Abramovich forced him to give up his assets in their oil start-up Sibneft, and that he was cheated out of all his Russian assets. Abramovich based his defense on the claim that Berezovsky had not held shares in his assets, but had received payments for acting as a “krysha” (political protector), a role which allowed individuals to operate in the Russian business world in the 1990′s.
In 2011 Berezovsky entered into a divorce settlement which cost him GBP 100 mln – the largest amount ever seen in a U.K divorce proceeding. According to media reports, the deceased faced further court cases in various countries including Brazil, the Isle of Man, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
“His life had lost all meaning,” Journalist Dmitry Olshansky, commented after the oligarch’s death. “He could not return to serious politics, serious money or to any serious game in general.”
Berezovsky reportedly gave an interview to Russian language Forbes Magazine, the night before his death, where he said that he missed Russia and was tired of living in exile.
Despite the fact that a U.K police probe found no traces of any chemicals or other suspicious materials at Berezovsky’s house, his friends are adamant that his death was not accidental.
“I’m definite Boris was killed,” Nikolai Glushkov, a close friend of the deceased, told U.K daily The Guardian. “I have quite different information from what is being published in the media.”
An initial postmortem revealed that the oligarch’s death was “consistent with hanging,” British coroners told the media, underlining that they found no indications of a struggle on the suspect’s body.
The police investigation continues.
Photo by Sean Dempsey. Courtesy of Polish news agency PAP