Saturday, March 23, 2013
Boris Berezovsky Found Dead In His Bath
He also played a key role in the rise of Yeltsin's successor, Vladimir Putin, but later fell out of favor with the new leader and fled to Britain to seek political asylum in the early 2000s.
Assets of these pariah businessmen, meanwhile, were acquired by state corporations or cooperative tycoons, often at bargain prices.
In the U.K., Berezovsky allied himself with an array of prominent Kremlin critics. Among them was ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko, who fled Russia with Berezovsky's help after accusing officials there of plotting to assassinate political opponents.
Litvinenko died on Nov. 26, 2006, after drinking tea laced with a lethal dose of the rare radioactive isotope polonium-210 in a London hotel. From his deathbed, Litvinenko accused the Kremlin of orchestrating his poisoning, and British police named former KGB agent Andrei Lugovoi as the prime suspect.
Both Lugovoi and the Kremlin denied the accusations, with the former instead claiming that Berezovsky — whom Russia consistently sought to extradite on a wide variety of criminal charges — engineered his friend's death as a way of embarrassing the Kremlin and buttressing his refugee status.
Berezovsky, who considered Litvinenko a close friend, consistently denied the allegations. In 2010, he won a libel case against Kremlin-owned broadcaster All-Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting, which aired a show in which it was suggested he was behind the former agent's poisoning.
Berezovsky recently has made headlines for costly legal battles, which have dealt serious blows to his finances.
Berezovsky had claimed that Abramovich cheated him out of his stakes in the oil group Sibneft, arguing that he blackmailed him into selling the stakes vastly beneath their true worth after he lost Putin's good graces. But a judge threw out the case in August, ruling that Berezovsky was a dishonest and unreliable witness.
“But you can say that information about the death of someone, no matter who he was, cannot elicit positive emotions,” the spokesman said.