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Post-mortem suggests Boris Berezovsky died by hanging

British police have said that a post-mortem examination of Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky shows the 67-year-old died by hanging. Police said they had found no evidence of a violent struggle or a "third party."

London's Thames Valley Police said on Monday that early investigations suggested that Boris Berezovsky died by hanging, although further forensic tests, including toxicology examinations, might take several weeks.

"The results of the post-mortem examination, carried out by a Home Office pathologist, have found the cause of death is consistent with hanging," police said in a statement. "The pathologist has found nothing to indicate a violent struggle."

Berezovsky was found in the locked bathroom of his luxury London home at the weekend, prompting speculation of how the oligarch who entered self-imposed exile in 2001 came to die.

An employee found Berezovsky's body in his bathroom on Saturday, forcing open a door that was locked from the inside.

Berezovsky, one of the Russian oligarchs who built their economic empires shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, used to be a key Kremlin ally and powerbroker. Once a supporter of Vladimir Putin, Berezovsky fell out with Putin during his first stint as president.

Facing charges of fraud and embezzlement in Russia, he applied for asylum in Britain after fleeing there in 2001, subsequently becoming a vocal critic of the Kremlin. Russian courts convicted Berezovsky in absentia and sentenced him to jail.

Berezovsky's fortunes had declined in recent years, most recently with a court defeat against former business partner and rival tycoon Roman Abramovich this August. He was ordered to pay 35 million pounds (41.3 million euros, $53.1 million) in legal costs to Abramovich. The 67-year-old alleged that Abramovich had blackmailed him out of stakes in the Sibneft oil company; the judge threw out the case, deeming that Berezovsky was an unreliable witness.

msh/jm (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)