Coroner Leaves Russian Exile's Death Unexplained

Can't say after inquest whether Berezovsky killed himself or was murdered
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 27, 2014 1:40 PM CDT
Coroner Leaves Russian Exile's Death Unexplained
Boris Berezovsky's daughter Anastasia arrives for the second day of the inquest into his death at Windsor Coroner's Court in Windsor, England, Thursday.   (Alastair Grant)

Boris Berezovsky's death will remain officially unexplained. A British coroner said today it wasn't possible to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt whether the self-exiled Russian tycoon and opponent of Vladimir Putin was killed or committed suicide. The 67-year-old Berezovsky was found on a bathroom floor of his ex-wife's home in southern England in March 2013. A scarf was around his neck. Coroner Peter Bedford recorded an "open," or inconclusive, verdict. "I am not saying Mr. Berezovsky took his own life," he said after a two-day inquest. "I am not saying Mr. Berezovsky was unlawfully killed. What I am saying is that the burden of proof sets such a high standard it is impossible for me to say."

The inconclusive verdict will likely only intensify the speculation swirling around Berezovsky's sudden demise. 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. Daughter Elizaveta Berezovskaya said that after her father's death, she accepted that he had killed himself, but later developed doubts. "He was a target, always," she said. "My father was a very serious political figure." (More Boris Berezovsky stories.)

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