SPECIALIST police with nuclear and chemical training gave the all clear at the home of former Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky yesterday, a day after the fervent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin died in unclear circumstances.
Once known as the godfather of the Kremlin, the former billionaire powerbroker helped Putin rise to the top before falling out of favour himself and fleeing to the UK in 2000.
Police said the 67-year-old’s death was unexplained and sent radioactive, biological and chemical experts to do tests as they tried to piece together Berezovsky's final hours.
Berezovsky had survived assassination attempts, including a bombing that decapitated his driver, and said he feared for his life after he became one of Putin’s fiercest critics, repeatedly calling for him to be forced from office. He was also a friend of Alexander Litvinenko, the former Russian spy who was poisoned with radioactive material in London in 2006, a murder that strained diplomatic ties between the UK and Russia.
However, friends said the man who personified the ruthless post-Soviet era of massive wealth and political scheming was depressed, had lost his fortune and may have committed suicide.
Others suspected he could have had a heart attack after the stress of losing a $6bn (£3.9bn) court case to Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich.
On Friday, in what is thought to have been his last interview, Berezovsky said he was sorry he had left Russia to live in self-imposed exile and was struggling to see the point of life.