Nikolay Glushkov, a Russian businessman with ties to prominent Kremlin critic Boris Berezovsky, was found dead in his London apartment late Monday night.
Glushkov, 69, was a close associate of Berezovsky – the once powerful Russian oligarch and former government official under Boris Yeltsin who is credited with having brought a then-unknown former KGB colonel named Vladimir Putin from relative obscurity in his native St Petersburg to the halls of the Kremlin – also died in London under mysterious circumstancesin 2013.
An inquest by Scotland Yard into Berezovsky’s sudden death failed to establish whether he had committed suicide or was murdered. At the time of his death, Berezovsky had been living in London as a politically active opposition member-in- exile since running afoul of his former protege, Putin, after the latter came to power in the summer of 1999.
There is no evidence yet to suggest a link to Glushkov’s death to the March 4 poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who were found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury after being exposed to a deadly nerve agent that was developed by Soviet scientists as an undetectable biotoxic chemical weapon during the Cold War.
Glushkov was a director for Russia’s national flag carrier Aeroflot in the 1990s and for Berezovsky’s LogoVAZ car company but was later charged in 1999 with money laundering and fraud after Berezovsky fell out with Putin. Glushkov fled to Britain in 2004, where he was granted political asylum, after spending five years in a Russian penal colony.
In 2011, Glushkov was a key witness in a court case brought by Berezovsky against Kremlin-ally Roman Abramovich, the billionaire oligarch and owner of the UK’s famed Chelsea Football Club. Glushkov told the London court he had been taken hostage by Putin’s administration to pressure Berezovsky into selling his stake in the Russian TV station ORT – part of Putin’s concerted campaign to crush Russia’s independent media during the early years of his rule.
Following Berezovsky’s death, Glushkov expressed doubts that the former, who was found hanged in a bathroom, took his own life.
“I’m certain Boris (Berezovsky) was killed. I have quite different information from what is being published in the media,” Glushkov said. “Boris was strangled. Either he did it himself or with the help of someone. [But] I don’t believe it was suicide.”
Russian authorities re-tried Glushkov in 2017, finding him guilty in absentia of stealing $123 million from Aeroflot in the 1990s and sentencing him to eight more years in prison.