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Russian exile 'is found dead at his London home'



  • Exiled businessman Nikolai Glushkov, a friend of Boris Berezovsky, found dead
  • He was found by his daughter with marks on his neck, Russian media claim
  • Exile was a close friend of oligarch Boris Berezovsky, a fierce critic of Putin 
  • Berezovsky was found dead in 2013. Glushkov insisted his friend had been killed
  • His death comes a week and a day after former Russian spy was attacked
  • Met's anti-terror police in charge of the investigation into 'unexplained' death

By Richard Spillett, Crime Correspondent and Gareth Davies For Mailonline

Published: 11:33 EDT, 13 March 2018 | Updated: 14:17 EDT, 13 March 2018

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A Russian exile has been found dead at his home in London just over a week after a nerve agent attack on a former double agent.  

Dissident Nikolai Glushkov was discovered by his family late on Monday night at his suburban home in New Malden.

Police say his death is being treated as 'unexplained' and have taken the unusual step of putting counter-terrorism officers in charge of the investigation.

The Russian newspaper Kommersant has reported that the 68-year-old was found by his daughter and had 'strangulation' marks on his neck. The paper also suggested the death could be suicide.

His death comes a year after he was jailed in absentia in Russia over allegations he embezzled £87million while in charge of Russian airline Aeroflot.

Nikolai Glushkov, a Russian exile and former associate of the late oligarch Boris Berezovsky, has been found dead at his home in London
Nikolai Glushkov, a Russian exile and former associate of the late oligarch Boris Berezovsky, has been found dead at his home in London

Nikolai Glushkov, a Russian exile and former associate of the late oligarch Boris Berezovsky, has been found dead at his home in London

Glushkov was a close associate of Boris Berezovsky (right), who fell out with Vladimir Putin and fled Russia. Mr Berezovsky was himself later found dead at his Berkshire mansion. The circumstances of his death are being reviewed
Glushkov was a close associate of Boris Berezovsky (right), who fell out with Vladimir Putin and fled Russia. Mr Berezovsky was himself later found dead at his Berkshire mansion. The circumstances of his death are being reviewed

Glushkov was a close associate of Boris Berezovsky (right), who fell out with Vladimir Putin and fled Russia. Mr Berezovsky was himself later found dead at his Berkshire mansion. The circumstances of his death are being reviewed

A police forensics tent has been set up outside his home in the London suburb of New Malden
A police forensics tent has been set up outside his home in the London suburb of New Malden

A police forensics tent has been set up outside his home in the London suburb of New Malden

Glushkov was a businessman in Russia after the fall of Communism and had been a close associate of oligarch Boris Berezovsky, who was forced to flee Moscow after falling out with Vladimir Putin. 

Glushkov was jailed in 2000 over claims of financial impropriety when he was in charge of Russian airline Aeroflot.

He later said he was told at the time that he would be killed on his way to court, saying: 'I was told the way it would happen. I would be run over by a truck.'

His friend Mr Berezovsky fled to London and they met up again when Glushkov was freed from prison five years later and also came to Britain. He was granted political asylum in 2010.

Mr Berezovsky was himself found dead on a bathroom floor at his home in southern England in 2013 with a scarf around his neck. 

A coroner concluded it was impossible to establish whether the oligarch was killed or committed suicide.

Mr Berezovsky's death is one of 14 which will be reexamined in the wake of the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal nine days ago.  

Russian media reported that Glushkov was granted political asylum in Britain in 2010. 

Last year, Glushkov appeared on a list published by the Russian Embassy in London of Russians wanted for serious crimes whom the UK had refused to extradite.

It said Russia had sought his extradition in 2015 'for committing a number of severe financial offences on the territory of Russia,' but the British government refused.

The Met Police have taken the unusual step of putting anti-terror police in charge of the probe
The Met Police have taken the unusual step of putting anti-terror police in charge of the probe

The Met Police have taken the unusual step of putting anti-terror police in charge of the probe

Police have said the death is 'unexplained' but have played, adding: 'There is no evidence to suggest a link to the incident in Salisbury'
Police have said the death is 'unexplained' but have played, adding: 'There is no evidence to suggest a link to the incident in Salisbury'

Police have said the death is 'unexplained' but have played, adding: 'There is no evidence to suggest a link to the incident in Salisbury'

Glushkov spent five years in jail in Russia before being freed and claiming asylum in Britain
Glushkov spent five years in jail in Russia before being freed and claiming asylum in Britain

Glushkov spent five years in jail in Russia before being freed and claiming asylum in Britain

Mr Glushkov, who was godfather to one of Mr Berezovsky's children, did not believe his friend had taken his own life and made a number of public statements insisting the oligarch had been killed.

He said the tycoon's former wife noticed marks on his neck minutes after he was found dead, adding: 'A scarf was there. There were traces of him being strangled around the neck.'  

He later told The Guardian: 'Too many deaths [of Russian emigres] have been happening.'

Mr Glushkov also gave evidence in the high profile court battle between Berezovsky and Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich in London in 2011. At the time it was the biggest money private court case in history.

In a witness statement, Mr Berezovsky described Glushkov as a 'treasured friend and trusted business associate'. 

He stated: 'The relationship I have with Nikolai is far more important than any amount of money.'

Mr Berezovsky - who lost the case - claimed Mr Abramovich had used his influence with Putin to keep Glushkov in jail while negiotiating a shares deal. Mr Abramovich disputed those claims.

He said that he was told he would be killed shortly before he was jailed for financial crimes in Russia in 2000. He fled to England on his release and claimed political asylum
He said that he was told he would be killed shortly before he was jailed for financial crimes in Russia in 2000. He fled to England on his release and claimed political asylum
He said that he was told he would be killed shortly before he was jailed for financial crimes in Russia in 2000. He fled to England on his release and claimed political asylum
He said that he was told he would be killed shortly before he was jailed for financial crimes in Russia in 2000. He fled to England on his release and claimed political asylum

He said that he was told he would be killed shortly before he was jailed for financial crimes in Russia in 2000. He fled to England on his release and claimed political asylum

His friend Damian Kudryavstev posted this tribute on Facebook earlier toda
His friend Damian Kudryavstev posted this tribute on Facebook earlier toda

His friend Damian Kudryavstev posted this tribute on Facebook earlier toda

Glushkov's death came a week and a day after fellow Russian exile Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were critically injured in a nerve agent attack in Salisbury.

A blue police evidence tent was in place outside Mr Glushkov's home in New Malden this afternoon.

A neighbour who lived next door to the Russian exile told how she had dinner with him shortly after he moved in around four years ago. 

Mr Glushkov told her to 'appreciate democracy' when he invited her into his home.

Police and MI5 to look into 14 deaths in Britain US intelligence think are linked to Russian activity

The police and MI5 will study allegations a string of deaths on UK soil may be linked to Russia, Amber Rudd announced today.

The revelation by the Home Secretary follows reports claiming that US intelligence sources suspect as many as 14 people may have been assassinated on British soil by Russia's security services or mafia groups.

In each of the cases, including the deaths of prominent Putin critic Boris Berezovsky and whistle-blower Alexander Perepilichnyy, police investigations and inquests found no evidence of foul play. 

She said Nikolai Glushkov, 68, had recently undergone an operation on his leg which doctors were said to be considering amputating.

The view from a neighbour's window showed the exile's home as sparse with few possessions.

He is understood to have lived alone with his dog. 

A close friend of Glushkov, who asked not to be named, said: 'He was such a lovely man.

'He had a very bad leg and recently had a big operation, but he was improving and said soon he would be going round without his stick and walking properly.

'He was in a lot of pain with it. He told me he had heart problems too, he used to go to Kingston Hospital and St George's in Tooting.

'The police banged on my door at 3.30am this morning and asked if I had heard of seen anything, if I had seen anyone going round.

'The police said there has been an incident and wouldn't say much more.' 

Mr Glushkov's friend said his daughter would regularly visit with a man she believed to be her husband, but that he lived by himself.   

The 65-year-old added: 'I was round for dinner with him when he first moved in and he mentioned to me that we should "appreciate democracy" more.

'He never went into any detail, we were talking about countries and he was telling me about his home in Georgia which has wonderful wildlife.

'I never knew what his job was, I knew he did not want much.

'He was such a nice fellow, dinner was just the two of us.

'His house was very nice and he used to have a woman who came round to do the cleaning.

'He definitely wasn't doing badly, he came from a good family.'

Police and ambulance crews rushed to the home of the Russian exile late on Monday night to respond to calls they received.

Officers knocked on a friend and next door neighbour's door at 3am and asked if she had seen anyone coming or going from the Russian's house.

Glushkov (pictured during his time in Russia) was jailed in absentia in Russia last year over allegations of financial irregularities
Glushkov (pictured during his time in Russia) was jailed in absentia in Russia last year over allegations of financial irregularities
Glushkov (pictured in recent years) was jailed in absentia in Russia last year over allegations of financial irregularities
Glushkov (pictured in recent years) was jailed in absentia in Russia last year over allegations of financial irregularities

Glushkov (right in recent years and, left, during his time in Russia) was jailed in absentia in Russia last year over allegations of financial irregularities

A neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: 'He used to say hello in the street and he came to give our children gifts at Christmas, he was a nice man.

'I think he lived on his own, he lived there for about two years but we didn't see him regularly, just occasionally when he was putting the rubbish out and things like that.

'I didn't notice anything last night, we didn't hear anything but there are two tents in the garden.

'I don't think I've seen him in the last week or so, I hadn't noticed him, but I don't know what's happened - the police said they are still searching and there are lots of police cars.'

A woman who lives across the street said Nikolai used to visit her shop 'a long time ago' but that she didn't know him.

She said: 'There were five or six police cars this morning about six o'clock, it's right across the street from us.

'I didn't really know the man, I've seen him and we used to see him out with his dog but that's it.

'He sometimes came in our shop many years ago, by the triangle, but I don't remember what he looked like. I'm really shocked that this has happened in our street.' 

Glushkov gave evidence at the high-profile court battle between Roman Abramovich (pictured) and Boris Berezovsky in 2011
Glushkov gave evidence at the high-profile court battle between Roman Abramovich (pictured) and Boris Berezovsky in 2011

Glushkov gave evidence at the high-profile court battle between Roman Abramovich (pictured) and Boris Berezovsky in 2011

Mr Berezovsky lost the big money court case and was later found dead in his country mansion
Mr Berezovsky lost the big money court case and was later found dead in his country mansion

Mr Berezovsky lost the big money court case and was later found dead in his country mansion

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: 'An investigation is underway following the death of a man in his 60s in Kingston borough.

'Police were called by the London Ambulance Service at 10.46pmn Monday, March 12 to reports of a man found deceased at a residential address in Clarence Avenue, New Malden.

'Officers attended and next of kin have been informed. Whilst we believe we know the identity of the deceased, formal identification is yet to take place. 

'A post-mortem examination will be held in due course.

'The death is currently being treated as an unexplained. If there is a change in the status of the investigation, an update will be provided.

'At this stage the Met Police Counter Terrorism Command is leading the investigation as a precaution because of associations that the man is believed to have had.

'There is no evidence to suggest a link to the incident in Salisbury.'

Was Russian spy poisoned via his CAR? Double agent's red BMW is probed as police confirm 38 people have been treated over attack

Russian spy Sergei Skripal may have been poisoned with military grade nerve agent while driving his car in Salisbury, it is thought.

The former double agent and his daughter are both believed to have been in the red BMW at around 1.45pm on Sunday, March 4 - two hours before they collapsed in a park.

After the car was recovered and a supermarket car park was closed off, it appears the police investigation into nerve agent attack is now focusing on the vehicle.

The police investigation into the poisoning of Russian spy Sergei Skripal is believed to be focusing on his red BMW. It is seen when it was recovered by police last week
The police investigation into the poisoning of Russian spy Sergei Skripal is believed to be focusing on his red BMW. It is seen when it was recovered by police last week

The police investigation into the poisoning of Russian spy Sergei Skripal is believed to be focusing on his red BMW. It is seen when it was recovered by police last week

The UK's head of counter-terrorism policing Neil Basu announced today that 38 people had come forward with illnesses related to the attack. As well as Mr Skripal, his daughter Yulia and DS Nick Bailey, who are all in hospital, another person is being monitored at home.

Speaking at Scotland Yard, he explained that the investigators' 'prime focus' is how the poison was administered, but warned the investigation will take 'many weeks'.

Speaking at Scotland Yard, Mr Basu said: 'The public are going to continue to see a great deal of police activity in and around the city, including potentially more cordons being erected, but please don't be alarmed.

'It is necessary as part of this major investigation by the counter-terrorism policing network. In truth it may last many weeks.'

Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia (pictured in Zizzi in 2016) left a trail of nerve agent in the restaurant after their poisoning
Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia (pictured in Zizzi in 2016) left a trail of nerve agent in the restaurant after their poisoning

Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia (pictured in Zizzi in 2016) left a trail of nerve agent in the restaurant after their poisoning

The Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner would not identify any potential suspect, saying: 'It's a painstaking operation to identify anyone of interest to this inquiry, and eliminate them or include them, but at this stage we are not declaring a person of interest or a suspect.'

Investigators are also focusing on Mr Skripal's red BMW, registration number HD09 WAO, and appealing for any witnesses who saw the pair in the car between 1pm and 1.45pm on March 4 to come forward.

Police have so far collected 380 exhibits and have been scouring hours of CCTV footage from across the city.

Detailing the timeline leading up to the pair being taken ill, Mr Basu disclosed that Yulia had arrived at Heathrow Airport on a flight from Russia the day before.

The senior officer referred to Mr Skripal as a British national and Yulia as a Russian citizen.

Meanwhile a local resident told of her shock after spotting forensics cops erecting two tents in the garden of Glushkov's house.

Tracy Broadfield, 46, spotted the tents this morning, and said she was 'very surprised' to see so much police activity in the quiet suburb.

She said: 'I was just being nosy, really.

'I'd seen on Facebook that the house was cordoned off so I decided to do a detour on the way back from my doctors this morning.

'I drove down there and they'd just finished putting the tents up.

'Nothing had been said on Facebook all day, and when I went back past again later the police were still there with forensics.

'Eventually someone said what had happened and I was very surprised - I only live a couple of minutes from his house, New Malden is a fairly quiet place and you don't expect that much police activity.'

She added: 'It's strange - there hadn't even been a whisper of what had happened until the papers picked it up. Nobody knew anything.'

Police and MI5 WILL look at 14 deaths in Britain US intelligence think are linked to Russian activity, Amber Rudd reveals

The police and MI5 will study allegations a string of deaths on UK soil may be linked to Russia, Amber Rudd announced today.

The revelation by the Home Secretary follows reports claiming that US intelligence sources suspect as many as 14 people may have been assassinated on British soil by Russia's security services or mafia groups.

In each of the cases, including the deaths of prominent Putin critic Boris Berezovsky and whistle-blower Alexander Perepilichnyy, police investigations and inquests found no evidence of foul play.

Amber Rudd (pictured in Downing Street yesterday) announced today that the police and MI5 will study allegations a string of deaths on UK soil may be linked to Russia
Amber Rudd (pictured in Downing Street yesterday) announced today that the police and MI5 will study allegations a string of deaths on UK soil may be linked to Russia

Amber Rudd (pictured in Downing Street yesterday) announced today that the police and MI5 will study allegations a string of deaths on UK soil may be linked to Russia

Former police chief Lord Blair - who led the Metropolitan Police at the time of the poisoning murder of Alexander Litvinenko in 2006 - has called for the 14 cases to be reopened, while the cross-party House of Commons Home Affairs Committee has called for a review of decisions made by police.

In a letter to the Committee, written on Saturday and released on Tuesday, Ms Rudd said: 'The Government was aware of these allegations, and takes seriously any suggestion that a foreign state has engaged in murder on UK soil.

'In the weeks to come, I will want to satisfy myself that the allegations are nothing more than that.

'The police and MI5 agree and will assist in that endeavour.'

In an interview on Monday with the Evening Standard, Ms Rudd said only that it may be right to look again at 'one or two or three or four' of the cases.

Welcoming Ms Rudd's letter, the chair of the Home Affairs Committee Yvette Cooper said: 'Given the gravity of these issues, it is... right that the authorities should reassure us that they have looked at any further allegations or relevant evidence put forward in any other cases.

Boris Berezovsky is one of 14 men who died in Britain in circumstances considered suspicious and potentially linked to Russia 
Boris Berezovsky is one of 14 men who died in Britain in circumstances considered suspicious and potentially linked to Russia 

Boris Berezovsky is one of 14 men who died in Britain in circumstances considered suspicious and potentially linked to Russia 

'As the Home Secretary has said in her letter, the Government must satisfy itself that the correct finding was reached in each case and the public need to know that relevant questions about wider Russia links have been investigated and answered.'

Mr Berezovsky, a friend of Litvinenko and thorn in the side of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was found hanged in the bathroom of his Berkshire home in 2013. 

Police said a post-mortem showed no sign of a violent struggle, and an inquest recorded an open verdict.

Mr Perepilichnyy, who provided documents to prosecutors investigating alleged fraud by Russian officials, died while jogging in 2012. Police said at the time they had found no evidence he was poisoned. An inquest into his death resumes in April.  

The family of Danny McGrory, the Times journalist whose name is one of 14 on the list, said yesterday that claims that he was murdered in 2007 had no basis in fact and that he suffered a brain haemorrhage.

British boss of oil firm with links to exile Boris Berezovsky 'was killed in a helicopter crash 14 years ago by Russians', friend claims

The British lawyer for a Russian oil firm and his pilot who died in a helicopter crash 14 years ago were murdered by Russians, a friend today claimed. 

Stephen Curtis, 45, and Max Radford were killed when their helicopter crashed near Bournemouth Airport in Dorset in March 2004.

Mr Curtis was said to have had links with the late Boris Berezovsky, who was exiled in Britain after falling out with Vladimir Putin, and had received death threats and had his phones tapped before his death.

Despite conspiracy theories surrounding the crash and a coroner stating the case had all the hallmarks of an 'espionage thriller', verdicts of accidental deaths were given at the two men's inquest. It was heard that pilot error was to blame.

But John Hackney, a fellow pilot and friend of Mr Radford, has spoken out in the wake of the nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in Salisbury, to raise questions over the fatal crash.

A helicopter crash killed lawyer Stephen Curtis, who worked for a Russian oil company
A helicopter crash killed lawyer Stephen Curtis, who worked for a Russian oil company

A helicopter crash killed lawyer Stephen Curtis, who worked for a Russian oil company

Mr Curtis's death was not an accident and should be investigating, John Hackney has said
Mr Curtis's death was not an accident and should be investigating, John Hackney has said
Mr Hackney is a friend of Mr Curtis's pilot, Max Radford, says the crash was not an accident
Mr Hackney is a friend of Mr Curtis's pilot, Max Radford, says the crash was not an accident

Mr Curtis's death was not an accident and should be investigating, John Hackney has said. Mr Hackney is a friend of Mr Curtis's pilot, Max Radford, says the crash was not an accident

Mr Hackney said he would welcome the case being investigated again and would do anything to clear Mr Radford's name.

Mr Hackney, 81, said: 'Those of us who knew Max and knew aviation always felt he must have been shot down. We can't say for sure, but we suspected foul play.

'The day of the funeral we were all still talking about it and all of us said exactly the same thing - 'this is not an accident'. We all said to his dad 'as long as we live we shall never ever believe this story'.'

Mr Curtis had been the managing director of the Menatep group which had a controlling stake in Yukos Oil.

He had offices in London's Mayfair and lived with his wife Sarah and his then 13-year-old daughter Louise at a 19th century castle on the Isle of Portland, Dorset.

A week before the fatal crash Curtis told a friend: 'If anything happens to me in the next few weeks, it will not be an accident.' 

Mr Curtis was an associate of Russian exile Boris Berezovsky, who was also found dead
Mr Curtis was an associate of Russian exile Boris Berezovsky, who was also found dead
Friends of pilot Max Radford have questioned whether the crash was an accident
Friends of pilot Max Radford have questioned whether the crash was an accident

Mr Curtis was an associate of Russian exile Boris Berezovsky (left), who was also found dead. Friends of pilot Max Radford (right) have questioned whether the crash was an accident

Mr Curtis  and Mr Radford were in this Augusta 109E when the crash unfolded in 2004
Mr Curtis  and Mr Radford were in this Augusta 109E when the crash unfolded in 2004

Mr Curtis  and Mr Radford were in this Augusta 109E when the crash unfolded in 2004

On the evening of March 3, 2004, he boarded his private Augusta A109E helicopter at Battersea Heliport being flown by Mr Radford.

The weather on the flight to Bournemouth deteriorated and the helicopter came down on the approach to the airport.

The official investigation by the AAIB (Air Accidents Investigation Branch) found no evidence of sabotage and stated Mr Radford must have become disorientated when the weather worsened.

Mr Hackney, from Ringwood, Hampshire, said: 'I saw Max the morning of the accident. He had got this lovely new helicopter, it was a very nice piece of kit with all the latest navigational aids.

'He said he was going to pick up a guy in London and I set off on my day and then on the way back in the evening I heard about the accident.

'It was just unbelievable. Where it happened, he was only a mile away from the landing site, the weather was not that significant and he could see where he was going.'

Multi-millionaire businessman Mr Curtis previously live at this lavish home on Portland, Dorset
Multi-millionaire businessman Mr Curtis previously live at this lavish home on Portland, Dorset

Multi-millionaire businessman Mr Curtis previously live at this lavish home on Portland, Dorset

Mr Hackney added: 'He had done a lot of flying, he was very experienced and it was a trip he had done so many times.

'Those sort of helicopters don't go bang and just drop. The odds of it happening like that are so rare.

'That's the way Russia operates. In 2004 we weren't so aware of those kind of tactics as we are now. I still don't believe it was pilot error and I would welcome any re-investigation.'

Sir Christopher Chope, the Conservative MP for Christchurch, Dorset, said he had always been sceptical about the conclusion of the case too.

He said: 'I was always sceptical about the official verdict on it but looking at these things the best assassins are the ones who cover their tracks.

'Whether it could be the state or mafia groups or whoever, how can we prove it if you haven't got the evidence?'

Yvette Cooper, chairman of the House of Commons home affairs select committee, has called for a review into 14 deaths where Russian involvement was suspected.

 

 

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