Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky, whose body was found in the locked bathroom of his luxury mansion near London over the weekend, died by hanging, British police said on Monday.
Police, who had earlier removed his body from his home to conduct an autopsy, said there were no signs of a violent struggle, adding that further tests would be carried out, including toxicology and histology examinations.
Once known as the grey cardinal of Kremlin politics, the former billionaire power broker helped Vladimir Putin come to power before fleeing in 2000 for Britain where he became one of the Russian government’s fiercest critics.
The 67-year-old Berezovsky’s body was found in his sprawling property in Ascot, an affluent town a few miles (kms) from Queen Elizabeth’s Windsor Castle, on Saturday.
Some of his associates earlier had hinted Berezovsky might have killed himself because he had been severely depressed after losing a bruising $6 billion court battle last year against another Russian tycoon, Roman Abramovich.
“The results of the post-mortem examination, carried out by a Home Office pathologist, have found the cause of death is consistent with hanging,” police said in a statement. “The pathologist has found nothing to indicate a violent struggle.”
Detectives earlier had searched Berezovsky’s house for traces of radiation and chemicals but found none, and said there was no evidence anyone else was involved in his death.
One of the most powerful of Russia’s so-called oligarchs, Berezovsky also had been known as the “godfather of the Kremlin” and wielded immense influence in politics and business during a turbulent decade that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Always surrounded by controversy and conspiracy theories, he survived several assassination attempts, including a bombing that decapitated his driver.