POLICE last night said there was currently no evidence to suggest anyone was involved in the death of Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky.
The 67-year-old businessman was found dead at his Berkshire home on Saturday by a bodyguard, specialist officers in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) substances examined the property yesterday before giving the all-clear.
Detective Chief Inspector Kevin Brown, of Thames Valley Police, said: “It would be wrong to speculate on the cause of death until the post-mortem has been carried out.
“We do not have any evidence at this stage to suggest third-party involvement.”
The death of Mr Berezovsky, an outspoken critic of Russian president Vladimir Putin, is being treated as “unexplained” by police, with reports suggesting the tycoon had killed himself.
However, a friend raised doubts about the suggestion the businessman took his own life, saying the Russian feared the Kremlin “aimed to destroy him”.
Dr Yuri Felshtinsky, a US-based author, said it was too early to assume his friend has died of “natural causes”, saying suicide was “not in his DNA”.
“We should be very careful to conclude at this stage that Berezovsky’s untimely death was of natural causes,” he said.
“When we recently spoke for the last time, Boris was looking to the future and did not seem to be suicidal. Boris feared for his safety and understood that the Kremlin aimed to destroy him as an example for anyone else who opposed it.
“He understood the Kremlin mindset better than anyone.
“Putin was dealing with him in the way that he deals with all his enemies. A documentary had just been broadcast on the main TV channels in Russia under the title Berezovsky.
“In it he was accused of many crimes, including murders.”
Mr Berezovsky, who last year lost a multi-billion-pound High Court fight with Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich, had survived a number of assassination attempts, including a bomb in his car that decapitated his chauffeur.
Police said they had relaxed the cordon around the property in Mill Lane, Ascot, following the precautionary search by CBRN experts.
The former mathematics professor was part of Boris Yeltsin’s inner circle in the latter years of his presidency, and became deputy secretary of Russia’s security council.
He acquired his fortune in the 1990s after the privatisation of state assets following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Mr Berezovsky emigrated to the UK in 2000 after falling out with Mr Putin.
In fear of his life, he sought political asylum and moved to England, buying upmarket properties.