Berezovsky's death instigates conspiracy theories, investigation underway
MOSCOW, March 24 - RAPSI. News broke on Saturday that self-exiled Russian oligarch and outspoken Kremlin critic Boris Berezovsky was found dead in his home near London. A host of theories have surfaced, most of them falling into two categories: suicide or heart attack while the cause of death remains unconfirmed.
The BBC reported Sunday that UK police specializing in the detection of nuclear, chemical, and biological contamination have been deployed to search Berezovsky’s home, noting that his body has not yet been removed from the house as a precaution while the search runs its course.
Notably, a close ally of Berezovsky’s, former Russian intelligence officer and alleged MI6 agent Alexander Litvinenko died in London in 2006 from poisoning by the radioactive substance polonium-210.
Long-time family friend Demyan Kudryavtsev told Russia’s Prime Business News Agency that Berezovsky had suffered a heart attack. A source in Berezovsky’s inner circle also cited the same cause of death, adding that the fallen tycoon had recently received treatment in Israel.
Suicide has been speculated as a potential cause of death as well. Speaking with RT shortly after the news broke Saturday, Russian attorney Alexander Dobrovinsky stated: “Two people called me around 8pm saying Berezovsky had died. One told it was suicide, and the second person said he might have died of a heart attack. I previously heard from people close to Berezovsky that he was practically broke and utterly depressed. A person I know called me and said that Berezovsky even asked to borrow $ 5,000 for a ticket. He was also seriously ill.”
After suffering a series of large-scale defeats in London’s High Court of Justice, Berezovsky was widely believed to be on the verge of bankruptcy.
The latest news on the Berezovsky front involved his plans to auction an extraordinarily valuable Warhol painting, Red Lenin, at Christie’s Auction House in an effort to gather funds to pay his legal fees. He had reportedly planned to sell several properties and a 1927 Rolls Royce at auction as well.
Throughout the course of his life, Berezovsky developed an international reputation for engaging in controversial disputes. There was a time in Boris Yeltsin’s Russia when he enjoyed unparalleled political influence. Once President Putin came to power in 2000, however, Berezovsky’s sphere of influence collapsed beneath him. After Berezovsky left Russia, he was granted asylum in the UK in 2003.
Despite numerous requests, the UK refused to hand him over to Russia to stand trial on various criminal counts. Meanwhile, Berezovsky continued his quest to upset the powers that be from his self-imposed exile.