Russian oligarch Berezovsky had £500m when he hanged himself in his ex-wife’s mansion in March… just a WEEK after cutting her out of his will

  • Oligarch had a portfolio of ‘trophy  properties’ in the south of France
  • Theories suggested he had killed himself  because of unpayable debts
  • Police found no evidence to counter  suicide verdict

By  Aaron Sharp

PUBLISHED: 06:41 EST, 22  September 2013 |  UPDATED: 09:19 EST, 22 September 2013

Russian businessman Boris Berezovsky 

True wealth: Russian businessman Boris Berezovsky,  above, died with an estate of luxury properties and business interests including  mansions in the south of France

 

The Russian oligarch who was found hanged in  the bathroom of his ex-wife’s Berkshire mansion had a fortune of £500m,  rubbishing theories he had committed suicide because of unpayable  debts.

Boris Berezovsky, who was an outspoken  critic of President Vladimir Putin, was discovered in March this year with  injuries police described as ‘consistent with hanging’.

Many believed that the exiled tycoon had  taken his own life because of depression after he lost a high court battle with  Chelsea Football club owner Roman Abramovich in 2012.

But new evidence has shown how Berezovsky,  who made his fortune in the soviet car industry, had a portfolio of luxury  properties in France as well as millions in business assets.

The true extent of the businessman’s wealth  is believed to far outweigh any debts he owed and casts fresh doubt on the  reason for his death.

As well as revelations about his assets, it  has also emerged that Berezovsky completely re-wrote his will the week before he  died.

He is said to have replaced the original with  a drawn up new version which omitted his first wife Nina.

Also cut out of the will was his second wife  Galina who he split with in an acrimonious divorce which cost the tycoon £100m  in 2011.

The replacement was completed by the  Berezovsky on March 14 this year.

It is signed in scruffy scrawled handwriting  in the name of Platon Elenin, which is a pseudonym Berezovsky assumed for  security reasons when he fled Russia in 2003.

Boris Berezovsky speaking outside the high courtRoman Abramovich, arriving at the high court for his battle with fellow Russian Boris Berezovsky

Clash of the tycoons: Berezovsky’s high court loss to  Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich is said to have cost him £100m. But his  remaining wealth suggests that bankruptcy was not a factor in the oligarchs  death

 

Nine days after signing the will, he was  found dead.

Despite those closest to the the man  insisting that he would never have taken his own life, police were unable to  find any evidence which would rule out suicide.

 

Berezovsky’s portfolio are said to include  ‘trophy assets’ which include mansions set in a 35 acre estate on the French  Riviera, they are believed to be worth  more than £200m.

Another property called Villa Gal, again in  the South of France, is valued at around £50m.

Thunder B yacht, which is said to have belonged to Boris Berezovsky 

High roller: The “Thunder B” yacht, which Russian  authorities say belonged to Russian billionaire Boris Berezovsky, is moored in  Golfe Juan port, southeastern France

 

Legal documents seen by the Sunday Times  suggest that Berezovsky’s estate was in receipt of payments from his former  business partner, Badri Patarkatsishvili, the Georgian billionaire who in  2008.

Sources close to the paper say the amount  paid was around £200m.

Berezovsky had business interests in hotels,  as well as being the owner of a private art collection, the value of which is  believed to be around £50m.

His assets, which are thought to total £500m,  outstrip the claim that Berezovsky’s estate for more than £150m from Aeroflot,  the Russian state airline.

That case is yet to be head in court and  there is guarantee that the tycoon would lose.

It is also suggested that he owed £100m to HM  Revenue & Customs for the sale of his shares in Sibneft, an Russain oil  company, and Rusal, an aluminium firm also based in his homeland.

Police blocking the road to the home of Boris Berzovsky 

No entry: Police block the road leading to the home of  the Russian oligarch after he was found dead on March 24, 2013 in Sunningdale,  Berkshire

 

The fortune will now be distributed in  accordance with his new will.

In the two page document, he leaves 18 per  cent shares to his remaining four children, Ekaterina and Elizaveta who are in  their thirties, the two teenagers Arina and Gleb, and to his exgirlfriend Helena  Gorbunova.

The remaining 10 per cent is to be split down  the middle between Michael Cotlick, his loyal Israeli assistant, and his mother  Anna who has since died.

She left her five per cent to Ekaterina, now  acting as her father’s executor.

A friend of the family said: ‘The family are  aware that there is a large amount of money in his estate. They are watching  developments very closely.’

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