Russian exile Nikolai Glushkov was strangled to death, say London police

The UK is also opening up investigations into 14 deaths in the country that may have been ordered by Moscow or the Russian mafia

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 March, 2018, 12:55am
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 March, 2018, 1:43am

Exiled Russian businessman Nikolai Glushkov may have been murdered in his own home in London, British police said on Friday, after coroners found that he died from “compression to the neck”.

“A murder investigation has been launched following the results of a postmortem into the death of 68-year-old Russian businessman Nikolay Glushkov,” London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

The announcement came the same day that the UK reopened 14 cases of possible murders in Britain believed to have been ordered by Moscow or the Russian mafia.

Glushkov, a retired Russian airline executive was found dead at his home in southwest London on Monday evening.

“A special postmortem began on Thursday, 15 March and we received the pathologist report today [Friday, 16 March], which gave the cause of death as compression to the neck,” police said.

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The statement said that at this stage there was nothing to suggest a link to the attempted murders of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter on March 4 in Salisbury, around two and a half hours’ drive from London.

Glushkov had received political asylum in Britain after being jailed in Russia for money laundering and fraud. 

He was linked to late Kremlin opponent Boris Berezovsky, an oligarch who was found hanged in his home outside London in 2013.

Police said the force’s Counter Terrorism Command would continue to lead the investigation into Glushkov’s death, “because of the associations Mr Glushkov is believed to have had”.

The British murder probe was launched soon after Russia’s Investigative Committee, which probes major crimes, announced its own investigation into the death of Glushkov.

The murder is not believed to be linked to the nerve agent attack of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, southwestern England, on March 4.

Both Britain and Russia have launched their own investigations into the poisoning, which has led to an ongoing diplomatic crisis.

The announcement came as London vowed to re-examine 14 deaths on UK soil, BuzzFeed  News reported, saying that the deaths are believed to be hits by Moscow or the Russian mafia.

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The victims include Glushkov and Berezovsky, as well as a British spy whose body was found in a padlocked bag in his bath, and a Russian oligarch.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd on Tuesday said that police and MI5, the domestic intelligence agency, would assist in examining allegations of potential Russian involvement in the deaths.

Alexander Perepilichny

Died: November 10, 2012

Perepilichny left Moscow for Britain in 2009. He gave Swiss prosecutors documents detailing the involvement of senior Russian officials in a vast financial crime case.

He went out jogging and was found dead on the road. He was 43.

Two post-mortems proved inconclusive.

Two years after his death, Perepilichny’s life insurance company ordered tests that detected a toxin from a Chinese plant called Gelsemium, which can trigger cardiac arrest, in his stomach.

The cause of death is yet to be determined and an inquest into the death is ongoing.

Badri Patarkatsishvili

Died: February 12, 2008

A close associate of Berezovsky, the Georgian tycoon oversaw the privatisation of the Sibneft oil company. Like Berezovsky, he clashed with Putin and he too was charged with fraud and embezzlement.

His country’s wealthiest citizen, he came third in the 2008 Georgian presidential election.

A month later, he collapsed at his mansion outside London and died, aged 52. He had met Berezovsky and Glushkov earlier in the day.

His death was put down to a heart attack.

Gareth Williams

Died: August 2010

A mathematician at Britain’s GCHQ electronic eavesdropping service, Williams, 31, was found dead at a London flat. His naked body was found in a bag, padlocked from the outside, in the bath.

Two experts cited in an inquest into the death tried and failed 400 times to lock the bag from the inside. The coroner ruled out suicide and found his death was “likely to have been criminally meditated”. No suspects were ever identified.

Stephen Curtis

Died: March 3, 2004.

Curtis was the managing director of Menatep, which held a big stake in Russia’s now-defunct Yukos oil giant, controlled by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was jailed and is now a Kremlin critic in exile in Switzerland.

Curtis, a lawyer who also worked for Berezovsky, died when his helicopter crashed into a field.

An inquest into the death said it was accidental. The coroner said there was “thin evidence” to support conspiracy theories, despite them having “all the ingredients for an espionage thriller”.

Scot Young

Died: December 8, 2014

Young, a wealthy British property developer, fronted deals for Berezovsky which reportedly angered the Russian government.

He fell from a fourth-floor flat in the upmarket Marylebone area of central London and was impaled on railing spikes. Police treated his death as non-suspicious.

The coroner said the death could not be ruled a suicide, saying there was inconclusive evidence to determine his state of mind and intention before he fell out of the window.