Boris Berezovsky, a Russian tycoon who self-exiled from his home country after angering former Prime Minister Vladmir Putin, was found dead in his London home Saturday. Authorities in the U.K. said Monday that the 67-year-old died by hanging, but it is unknown whether suicide or foul play was the cause.
Boris Berezovsky was formerly a billionaire and a part of the elite Russian oligarchs that made fortunes during the collapse of the U.S.S.R. and Russia's privatization under Boris Yeltsin. Once the new leader Putin began quelling many tycoons' influence in the region and demanding taxes, Berezovsky fled to the U.K. Recently, financial problems had been mounting for the mogul, but it is unknown if he turned to suicide for the answer.
"The results of the post-mortem examination, carried out by a Home Office pathologist, have found the cause of death is consistent with hanging," British authorities stated. "The pathologist has found nothing to indicate a violent struggle."
Berezovsky's body was discovered in a bathroom in his Ascot home, which is only a few miles from Windsor Castle, according to CNN. No toxic substances were found on the premises, but a toxicology report may take days to complete.
"(Police) are carrying out further forensic examinations at the property and these are expected to last several days," Thames Valley police said at 9 a.m. Monday. "We will not speculate on the cause of death until the post-mortem examination has been carried out."
Nevertheless, those close to Berezovsky suggested that his recent financial failings could have driven him to take his own life. He lost a $6 billion court battle against fellow Russian mogul Roman Abramovich in 2012. Just a year before that, he paid $330 million to his ex-wife Galina Besharova- the largest divorce settlement in British history, according to The Daily Telegraph.
"All he had was debts," Alexander Dobrovinsky, Berezovsky's lawyer, told Russian state TV. "He was practically destroyed. He was selling his paintings and other things."
Others have pointed to the late mogul's deep desire to return to his homeland as a possible cause behind his untimely death. Berezovky spoke out against Putin repeatedly from the U.K., calling him corrupt, and was convicted of tax fraud and evasion in 2007. The circumstances meant he could not return to Russia.
Berezovsky would allegedly do "anything Moscow and the Kremlin told him" to return, nationalist legislator Vladimir Zhirinovsky told Russian publication Izvestia. He claimed to have met the tycoon in Israel recently.
"The only condition (Berezovsky) named was a decree for pardoning him," Zhrinovsky added.