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February 27, 2021
WORLD

Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky found dead at his UK home

Chemical hazard police give house all-clear.

The home of the late exiled Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky has been given the all-clear after it was searched by police with expertise in environments contaminated with chemical, biological and nuclear material, the BBC informs. Berezovsky, 67, was found dead on Saturday and police are currently treating his death as unexplained. The majority of a cordon around his Berkshire house has now been lifted. He emigrated to the UK in 2000 after falling out with Russia’s president. Berezovsky’s body remained at the property while the search – described by police as a precaution – was carried out.Simon Bowden, of Thames Valley Police, thanked residents near the Ascot property for their patience and apologised for inconvenience. “However we needed to ensure that all precautions were taken prior to entering the property. “I am pleased to say the CBRN officers found nothing of concern in the property and we are now progressing the investigation as normal,” he said. Boris Berezovsky amassed a fortune in the 1990s after the privatisation of state assets following the collapse of Soviet Communism. He survived numerous assassination attempts, including a bomb that decapitated his chauffeur. In 2003 he won political asylum to stay in Britain on the grounds that his life would be in danger in Russia.  The tycoon’s wealth is thought to have considerably diminished in recent years, leaving him struggling to pay debts in the wake of costly court cases.In 2011, Mr Berezovsky reportedly lost more than £100m in a divorce settlement. And, last year, he lost a £3bn damages claim against Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich. In an interview with a Forbes magazine journalist Berezovsky gave on the eve of his death, he said his life no longer made sense and he wished he could return to Russia.On Saturday a Kremlin spokesman said that Mr Berezovsky had recently written to Valdimir Putin, saying he wanted to go home. Berezovsky was a close friend of murdered Russian emigre and former KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko, who died in 2006 after he was poisoned with the radioactive material polonium-210 while drinking tea at a London meeting. Without naming Berezovsky, the Kremlin has accused its foreign-based opponents of organising the assassination. It was thought that Russia was, in part referring, to Berezovsky. He denied the allegation and accused Putin of personally being behind Litvinenko’s death.Russian media have described Berezovsky’s death as “the end of an era”. On its website, the pro-Kremlin paper Komsomolskaya Pravda describes Berezovsky as having been “clever, cunning, resourceful… a master of chaos”. Meanwhile, Novaya Gazeta – which is normally critical of the Kremlin – described him as someone who “viewed Russia as a chess board”, albeit one on which “only he would be allowed to move the pieces”.

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