LONDON (AP) — Boris Berezovsky's daughter said Thursday that the self-exiled Russian oligarch, who was found dead a year ago, thought he had been poisoned in the days after he lost a multibillion-dollar legal battle with a business rival.
Elizaveta Berezovskaya told a coroner's inquest that her father said "something strange was happening to him" and said "some chemical reaction was inside him." The family later concluded he was suffering from depression.
Inquests are held in Britain to determine the facts in all cases of violent or unexplained death.
The body of 67-year-old Berezovsky — a Kremlin insider turned critic of President Vladimir Putin — was found on a bathroom floor of his ex-wife's home in southern England in March 2013.
Berezovskaya said that after her father's death, she accepted that he had killed himself, but later developed doubts. She said that her father was "a serious political figure" who could be a target for assassination.
Professor Bernd Brinkmann, an expert on hanging, told the inquest that he didn't believe Berezovsky had taken his own life, but had been strangled by someone who then made it look like a hanging.
"In my view there is no way for death by hanging," he said, citing the marks on the dead man's neck and the coloring of his face as inconsistent with hanging deaths.
Brinkmann was alone among medical experts in suggesting foul play.
Pathologist Dr. Simon Poole said Berezovsky's injuries were consistent with hanging and there was no sign of struggle.
Poole said no defensive wounds were found, adding: "These injuries were extensively looked for."
Forensic scientist Sarah Tarrant said toxicology tests found traces of prescription medicines, including drugs for insomnia and depression. She said it was unlikely that any of them had contributed to Berezovsky's death.
A mathematician-turned-Mercedes dealer, Berezovsky amassed his wealth during Russia's chaotic privatization of state assets in the early 1990s. He later fell out with Putin and moved to Britain in 2001.
On Wednesday, Berezovsky's employees and associates told the inquest that the former mogul had been a "broken man" and spoke of suicide after he lost a court battle with billionaire Roman Abramovich over shares in a Russian oil company in 2012.
- Death & Funeral
- Boris Berezovsky
- President Vladimir Putin
- Bernd Brinkmann