- Nikolai Glushkov, a Russian political exile and businessman, was found dead in his London home earlier this week.
- One of his friends said the Kremlin had held a grudge against Glushkov since the 1990s.
- Glushkov also said in 2013 that he was part of a Kremlin hit list that included two other Russian exiles who died on British soil.
- A Russian newspaper said Glushkov was found with “traces of suffocation.”
A friend of Nikolai Glushkov, the Russian political exile found dead in his London home earlier this week in unexplained circumstances, has said that the Kremlin “considered him to be an enemy.”
Glushkov, who was known for being a close associate of Russian oligarch and prominent Putin critic Boris Berezovsky, was found with “traces of suffocation” on Monday evening, Russian newspaper Kommersant reported.
Alex Goldfarb, who knew Glushkov, told The Guardian that Russian intelligence agencies had held a grudge against Glushkov since the 1990s.
“There was a history. They considered him to be an enemy. They have a long memory,” Goldfarb said.
Glushkov lived alone in southwest London, and was discovered by his daughter Natalya who had gone to visit him, Kommersant said. London police continue to treat the death as “unexplained.”
Alex Goldfarb also told The Guardian: “I think it’s fairly clear it wasn’t an accident or disease. It’s either suicide or strangulation, like with Boris [Berezovsky].”
Berezovsky was found dead on his bathroom floor of his ex-wife’s house in Ascot, southeast England, in 2013. A coroner later heard that he was hanged, but experts conflicted over whether the death was suicide or murder.
Shortly after Berezovsky’s death, Glushkov told The Guardian that Berezovsky and Alexander Litvinenko, ex-KGB agent who was killed with radioactive poison, had been on a Kremlin hitlist.
He said at the time: “I don’t see anyone left on it apart from me.”
Glushkov had been expected in court on the day of his death, another unidentified friend told The Guardian.
He was getting ready to defend a commercial claim made against him by Aeroflot, the Russian state airline where he was an executive and from which he was convicted of stealing $US100 million last year.
The friend said: “He was eager to win. He had been getting ready for this for months.”
He added that there was “nothing about him which suggested depression or unhappiness.”
British counterterrorism police is leading the investigation “as a precaution” because of Glushkov’s associations.
They added that there has been no evidence to connect the case to the attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal, the ex-spy poisoned by Russian nerve agent earlier this month and is the subject of a breakdown in relations between Moscow and London.