Police investigating the death of exiled Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky have found nothing to suggest that he was the victim of a chemical or radiation attack. However, they are still treating his death as suspicious.
According to a statement released by police on Sunday, chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear experts found "nothing of concern" in their search of Berezovsky's mansion in Ascot, around 40 kilometers (25 miles) west of London.
"We are now progressing the investigation as normal," according to the statement. Later in the day, police said there was no evidence of foul play or that a third party had been involved.
Berezovsky, who was 67 at the time of his death, was once a member of former Russian President Boris Yeltsin's inner circle, but fell out with current President Vladimir Putin several years ago. Facing criminal charges that he said were politically motivated, Berezovsky fled Russia and was granted asylum in Britain in 2000. Since then, he had been a strident critic of the Russian leader.
His divorce from Galina Besharova three years ago is reported to have cost him as much as 100 million pounds (117 million euros, $152 million).
Last December, a court ordered him to pay 35 million pounds in legal costs after losing a damages claim against Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich.
He had also been convicted and jailed on embezzlement charges in absentia by Russian courts.
There have also been reports that he was experiencing cash-flow problems. A report in London's Times newspaper published earlier this week said that he had been selling personal property to settle his debts, including an Andy Warhol portrait of former Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin.
A close friend dismissed suggestions that Berezovsky, who is reported to have wanted to return home to Russia, could have taken his own life.
"There are no external signs of a suicide," he told Russia's Prime news agency. "There are no signs that he injected himself or swallowed any pills. No one knows why his heart stopped."
pfd/ (Reuters, AFP, AP)