March 19, 2018 / 12:43 PM / 6 months ago

No sign of forced entry in suspected murder of Russian businessman: UK police

LONDON (Reuters) - British police said on Monday there was no sign of forced entry to the house of a Russian businessman who they believe was murdered at his home in London last week.

FILE PHOTO: A police officer stands on duty outside the home of Nikolai Glushkov in New Malden, on the outskirts of London, Britain, March 17, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

The body of Nikolai Glushkov was found at his home in New Malden, southwest London, with a postmortem concluding he had died of “compression to the neck”.

Glushkov, who had once worked for Russian airline Aeroflot was an associate of late tycoon Boris Berezovsky, a longtime critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Police said there was nothing to link his death to the poisoning of Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the English southern city of Salisbury on March 4, an attack Britain has blamed on Russia.

“We have found no sign of forced entry thus far, but the forensic examination at Mr Glushkov’s home continues and we expect to be there for some time,” said Commander Clarke Jarrett from London’s Counter Terrorism Command.

“I must stress that there is nothing we have found in our investigation so far to suggest any link to the attempted murders in Salisbury and I would like to reassure the public in New Malden that there are no wider public health concerns in relation to this investigation.”

Jarrett said there was also no evidence Glushkov had been poisoned.

Berezovsky, 67, one of Russia’s most powerful figures in the years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, fled to London after a row with Putin in 2000. He was found dead in March 2013 with a scarf tied around his neck in the bathroom of a luxury mansion west of London.

Police and forensic experts concluded that Berezovsky had committed suicide but a British coroner concluded he could not be sure if the Russian killed himself or was the victim of foul play.

His death is one of 14 being re-examined by British police and security services in the wake of Skripal’s attempted murder.

Glushkov was also friends with Marina Litvinenko whose husband Alexander was poisoned with a rare radioactive isotope in 2006, a killing a British public inquiry said was carried out by two Russians in an operation probably ordered by Putin. Moscow has rejected any suggestion of involvement in the murder.

Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Guy Faulconbridge

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