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Russian tycoon Berezovsky died from hanging, UK police say

Exiled Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, a prominent Russian opposition figure, was found dead at his home near London on Saturday. NBC's Lester Holt reports.

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An exterior view of the home of Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky after he was found dead on Saturday in Ascot, England.

Exiled Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, who was found dead in country estate south of London over the weekend, died of hanging, Thames Valley Police reported on Monday.

A British pathologist who carried out the exam on the body of the 67-year-old Russian opposition figure determined that the “cause of death is consistent with hanging,” police said in a statement.

“The pathologist has found nothing to indicate a violent struggle,” the statement said.


More tests were planned on the body, including toxicology exams to determine what substances were in his system. Those results won’t likely be known for several weeks, according to police.

In addition, police said crime scene investigators would continue combing over Berezovsky’s property in Ascot for several days.


Police also noted that, though Berezovsky has been named, the formal identification process would not be completed until Tuesday.

Earlier police said the area around the estate would remain sealed off "until Wednesday or Thursday in order to protect the scene." An earlier search for evidence of radiation or chemicals returned up negative.

Berezovsky made his fortune selling luxury cars and later founded Moscow’s first independent television station in the tumultuous times after Russia privatized state assets in the 1990s.

He helped orchestrate the re-election of Boris Yeltsin in 1996 and also played a role in Vladimir Putin's rise to power. Berezovsky, however, fell out of favor when Putin became president in 2000 — and became one of the strongman’s critics. 

He was granted political asylum in Britain in 2003.

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