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Inquest: Russian tycoon Berezovsky was found with ligature around his neck

By Andrew Carey and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
updated 7:10 AM EDT, Fri March 29, 2013
Boris Berezovsky began his working life as a math professor, and then a systems analyst, before switching to more lucrative jobs, according to CNN's Jill Dougherty. He is pictured here at Moscow airport in 1999. Boris Berezovsky began his working life as a math professor, and then a systems analyst, before switching to more lucrative jobs, according to CNN's Jill Dougherty. He is pictured here at Moscow airport in 1999.
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Berezovsky: Colorful Russian oligarch
Berezovsky: Colorful Russian oligarch
Berezovsky: Colorful Russian oligarch
Berezovsky: Colorful Russian oligarch
Berezovsky: Colorful Russian oligarch
Berezovsky: Colorful Russian oligarch
Berezovsky: Colorful Russian oligarch
Berezovsky: Colorful Russian oligarch
Berezovsky: Colorful Russian oligarch
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • An inquest into the death of Boris Berezovsky opens in England
  • Police say his body was discovered on a bathroom floor with a ligature around his neck
  • Berezovsky, 67, was found dead Saturday at his country estate south of London
  • Daughter pays tribute to an "extraordinary" man who taught her to "never stop fighting"

Windsor, England (CNN) -- The body of expatriate Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky was found in a bathroom at his British home with a ligature around his neck, a police officer testified at an inquest into his death Thursday.

Berezovsky, 67, was found dead Saturday at a country estate south of London, triggering speculation about the fate of the business mogul known for his opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Police have said that the death was consistent with hanging and that there were no signs of a struggle.

An inquest by a coroner is standard procedure in cases of unnatural deaths in England.

The short hearing at Windsor Guildhall opened Thursday morning with testimony from two witnesses.

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Detective Inspector Mark Bissel, of Thames Valley Police, said the body was found in the bathroom with "a ligature around his neck" and a piece of similar material around a shower rail, but he did not specify what the material was.

The cause of death was consistent with hanging, with nothing to indicate a violent struggle or the involvement of a third person, he said.

However, he added, third party involvement could not be completely ruled out as the investigation was continuing and the results of forensic examinations were not yet in.

The test results, including toxicology reports, could take several weeks to come, Bissel said.

The mansion where Berezovsky's body was found is still under police guard, and the search for evidence is expected to continue for the next few days, he said.

Coroner's officer Janine Prunty said the name of the deceased was Platon Elenin, formerly Boris Abramovich Berezovsky, who was born in Moscow in January 1946. He had legally changed his name in 2003.

His body was formally identified by his daughter Elizaveta Berezovskaya on Tuesday.

Berezovsky's body was discovered Saturday afternoon by an employee, who called the emergency services, the inquest heard. The tycoon was last seen alive at 9:05 p.m. the day before by the same employee.

The inquest was then adjourned to allow authorities to gather more evidence. The date for it to reopen has not yet been set.

'Extraordinary' man

The family of Berezovsky's second wife, Galina Besharova, released a tribute to him Wednesday through Thames Valley Police.

Berezovsky had two children from this marriage, a son and a daughter, Anastasia, who wrote the tribute on behalf of her family.

"My father was not the typical parent, nothing about him was ordinary," she wrote. "He has taught me many things about this world.

"He has taught me to never stop fighting for what one believes in no matter what the costs may be. I doubt anyone could have met a man with a stronger presence, or with charm that was more overwhelming than the one my father possessed.

"There aren't enough words in any language that can somehow express everything that he was and everything he will continue to be. The only word that comes close is extraordinary."

READ MORE: Russian tycoon's death 'consistent with hanging'

READ MORE: Oligarch who angered Putin: Rise and fall of Boris Berezovsky

CNN's Andrew Carey reported from Windsor and Laura Smith-Spark wrote in London. Stephanie Halasz contributed to this report.

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