As Conspiracies Swirl, Police Say Former Russian Oligarch Boris Berezovsky Died in a HangingS

Police have confirmed that Boris Berezovsky, the Russian oligarch found dead this weekend, died from a hanging. Despite the many conspiracy theories, authorities say there was no evidence of struggle before his death, and the examination results support claims that he killed himself.

On Saturday, March 23, Berezovsky's spokesman said the exiled oligarch had died in London. The police had issued a statement that they would investigate "the unexplained death of a 67-year-old man, believed to be Russian national Boris Berezovsky." Berezovsky's bodyguard discovered him lying dead on the floor of a bathroom, which had been locked from the inside.

Because the fast-talking Berezovsky had many powerful enemies, there are some rumors of foul play and conspiracy regarding his death. The Guardian reported that Russian social media sources were saying he had killed himself, while some said it was a heart attack, and others remembered that Berezovsky left Russia in 2000, when Putin rose to power, claiming there was an assassination plot for him.

Or Berezovsky could have had a change of allegiance. Less than 24 hours before his death, Berezovsky told a Russian reporter that he wanted to return to his home country. Some are saying that he was planning on disseminating information about Western secret services—and his death might be the work of British spies.

Berezovsky amassed his fortune through selling Mercedes Benz in the 1990s, and then through his ownership of oil and cable companies. He supported Boris Yeltsin in his rise to power and served as the Kremlin's "grey cardinal" under Yeltsin. Berezovsky also aided the political rise of Vladimir Putin, who then turned on his supporter. Berezovsky then exiled himself from Russia and has lived in England since 2000, where he has vocally criticized Putin. Since in England, he has fallen into debt and despair, according to his lawyer, especially after losing one of the world's biggest private litigations against Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea Football Club, leaving Berezovsky with a £70 million legal bill.

[the Telegraph, image via AP, from 2008]