Boris Berezovsky, the Russian tycoon found dead at his home on Saturday, appeared to have died by hanging himself, according to a post-mortem.
Ruling out any “third-party involvement”, police on Tuesday said the examination found nothing to indicate a violent struggle.
“The results of the post-mortem examination, carried out by a Home Office pathologist, have found the cause of death is consistent with hanging,” a spokesman said.
The body of Berezovsky (67) was found in his bath at his mansion in Berkshire by a bodyguard who became concerned after not seeing him since the previous night.
Media reports said he had marks around his neck. “A scarf was there. There were traces of him being strangled around the neck,” a friend of Berezovsky, Nikolay Glushkov, told The Guardian.
A highly controversial figure, Berezovsky fled Russia in 2000 after falling out with President Vladimir Putin and settled in Britain. He was wanted in Russia on charges of fraud and money-laundering but Britain refused Moscow’s repeated requests for his extradition.
According to Berezovsky’s friends, he had been depressed after losing several costly court cases and had spoken of ending his life. Days before his death, he wrote to Mr. Putin, whom he had previously accused of plotting to kill him, begging his “forgiveness” and seeking his help to return to Russia.
Police were reported to have interviewed Berezovksy’s family members, including his former wife Galina, “to gain a better understanding of his state of mind” in the days leading to his death.
One unnamed friend said he had been “very, very low” in recent months.
Berezovsky, who made his fortune by buying up cheap state assets in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, was said to have been reduced to penury after losing a string of court cases. Last year, he lost a $4-billion damages claim against Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich.