UK coroner records open verdict on death of Russian oligarch Berezovsky

WINDSOR, England Thu Mar 27, 2014 3:10pm EDT

Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky speaks to members of the media after losing his court battle against Roman Abramovich, at a division of the High Court in London August 31, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/Neil Hall

Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky speaks to members of the media after losing his court battle against Roman Abramovich, at a division of the High Court in London August 31, 2012 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Neil Hall

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WINDSOR, England (Reuters) - A British coroner recorded an open verdict on Thursday on the death of exiled Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky whose body was found in the bathroom of his ex-wife's home in Britain last March, the BBC reported.

Berezovsky, who helped broker Vladimir Putin's rise to the Kremlin's top job only to become his sworn enemy, was found dead with a ligature around his neck in the bathroom of a luxury mansion in Ascot, an affluent English town near Queen Elizabeth's Windsor Castle, west of London.

The family of the tycoon, 67, feared he might have been murdered by his enemies in Russia for his criticism of the Kremlin.

But Coroner Peter Bedford recorded an open verdict, saying the evidence did not reveal the means by which his death arose, the BBC said.

Pathologists at the inquest gave differing views on the cause of death. Bernd Brinkmann said that Berezovsky could not have hanged himself and was likely to have been strangled.

But a state pathologist, Simon Poole, said that the oligarch, who had suffered depression after losing a $6 billion damages claim to Chelsea soccer club owner Roman Abramovich in 2012, had hanged himself using his scarf.

On Wednesday, Berezovsky's bodyguard Avi Navama told the inquest his employer had asked him about the best ways to commit suicide and told him he was "the poorest man in the world" after the case.

(Writing by Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison)

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