A Russian exile found dead at his London home this week had received mystery visits from people in ‘supercars’, a neighbour said today.
Dissident Nikolai Glushkov, 69, was found by his daughter, Natalia, on Monday night – just a week after fellow exile Sergei Skripal was the victim of a nerve agent attack attributed to Russia.
Police anti-terror experts are today digging up Mr Glushkov’s garden after claims he had ‘strangulation’ marks around his neck.
A neighbour of Mr Glushkov today told the Evening Standard: ‘There was something strange about the number of supercars pulling up outside the house.
‘It was all very strange, I am going to report it to the police. The activity was unusual. It makes you wonder if it was connected with what had happened. I was suspicious.’
The local resident said a Ferrari and a yellow Lamborghini were among the cars recently seen outside the property.
Exiled Russian businessman Nikolai Glushkov was found at his home in south London this week. His daughter Natalia (left) reportedly discovered his body
Police with shovels were seen entering the property today as fears over his death grow
Concerns over Mr Glushkov’s death were raised in the House of Commons today as the police investigation, led by anti-terror offices, continued to work at the scene
Mr Glushkov’s death came amid a tense stand-off between the UK and Russia over the chemical weapons attack in Salisbury
Russian media have suggested he may have taken his own life. Police are treating the death as ‘unexplained’.
‘We are still waiting for the post-mortem examination results. This death is still being considered as unexplained,’ police said.
It emerged today that, like her father, Mr Glushkov’s daughter Natalia, had also appeared to question the death of another exile, Boris Berezovsky.
Two days after Mr Berezovsky’s death in 2013, Natalia posted: ‘RIP Boris Abramovich Berezovsky… a loss… so be the truth and justice… condolences to Mother, families and friends…’
Mr Berezovsky was found dead at his Surrey mansion. A coroner recorded an open verdict and Mr Glushkov had insisted the oligarch was assassinated.
Mr Glushkov had worked for Boris Berezovsky until the billionaire fell out with Mr Putin and fled to Britain. Mr Glushkov was held at the notorious Lefortovo Prison for five years until being cleared of fraud and money laundering while working for Aeroflot.
He was instead convicted of ‘abuse of authority’ in a plot supposedly orchestrated by Andrei Lugovoi. Now a Russian MP, Mr Lugovoi is the prime suspect for the polonium-210 murder of Alexander Litvinenko in London.
Mr Glushkov was one of the last survivors from a circle of exiles led by Mr Berezovsky, who was described as President Putin’s ‘personal enemy number one’.
Like the children of Sergei Skripal, Mr Glushkova’s daughter is understood to have moved freely between Russia and England despite her father’s exile
His daughter appeared to share his suspicions about the death of Mr Glushkov’s friend Boris Berezovsky in 2013
Nikolai Glushkov, 68, was discovered by his family late on Monday night at his suburban home in New Malden, Boris Berezovsky was found dead in England in 2013 and the death of Badri Patarkatsishvili is unexplained
Other prominent Russians now living in Britain have reportedly been given extra protection in the wake of the attack.
Like Mr Skripal’s children, Mr Glushkov’s son and daughter do not seem to have been affected by their father’s exile, moving freely between Russia and the UK.
His daughter Natalia is understood to have studied for an MA at University of Westminster before becoming the co-owner of a boutique in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Another of Mr Glushkov’s close acquaintances, Georgian billionaire Badri Patarkatsishvili, 52, also died in mysterious circumstances.
Russian newspaper Kommersant reported today that other exiles have seen police cars parked outside their houses since the attack on Mr Skripal.
Police officers in forensics suits were seen walking around the New Malden property today
A police forensics tent has been set up outside his home in the London suburb of New Malden
A private ambulance surrounded by police officers and with its back doors open arrives at the home of Nikolai Glushkov
Scotland Yard said yesterday that there was, as yet, no evidence to link Mr Glushkov’s death to the nerve agent poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury.
But it sent officers from its Counter Terrorism Command, overseen by the security services MI5 and MI6. Last night, uniformed police officers expanded the cordon around the house as colleagues in forensic outfits undertook a fingertip search.
Mr Berezovsky’s son-in-law Yegor Shuppe said the death was suspicious, adding: ‘In my opinion the cause is not any disease. It does not correlate. He did not have a sickness to die from. We helped him get good surgery, I often visited him.
‘It was not the disease that prevented him from living. I’m not an investigator, but it looks strange.’
Alexander Goldfarb, one of Mr Berezovsky’s closest confidants, said the timing rang alarm bells.
He said: ‘This looks very suspicious because of the recent attack on double agent Skripal.’
A police officer stands guard as two forensic investigators leave the property in New Malden with two cases
But a Glushkov family friend said: ‘Nikolai was sick, he had blood disease. And even in Moscow he was already registered as disabled. He was a good family man, he loved children. His relatives don’t believe that this was violent death.’
Last night, Mr Glushkov’s neighbours in New Malden described being roused from their beds by detectives in the early hours.
They woke up to discover similar scenes to those in Salisbury with forensic tents covering the front of the £400,000 property.
Officers had been called shortly before 11pm on Monday to reports of a death at the address. Mr Glushkov had slipped out of public view at the anonymous rented terraced home on the outskirts of the capital. Before his arrest in Russia the businessman had been living in fear, with friends telling him ‘I would be run over by a truck’.
He sought asylum in Britain in 2010 while faced with fresh claims of fraud and embezzlement in his homeland.
Last year he was handed a second eight-year sentence in his absence and a huge fine for allegedly stealing around £90million from Aeroflot.
Mr Glushkov said that he was told he would be killed shortly before he was jailed for financial crimes in Russia in 2000. He fled to England on his release and claimed political asylum
Mr Glushkov had two grown-up children, Natasha and Dima, and an ex-wife who lives in Moscow.
His daughter, aged in her 20s, attended a Swiss finishing school and lives in London. His son is based in Russia.
Neighbours said he was often seen with his dog and was up and walking again after recently undergoing an operation for arthritis.
One neighbour said: ‘He was such a lovely man. He had a very bad leg and recently had a big operation.
‘But he was improving and said soon he would be going round without his stick and walking properly. He was in a lot of pain with it. He told me he had heart problems too.
‘I was round for dinner with him when he first moved in and he mentioned to me that we should ‘appreciate democracy’ more.
‘He never went into any detail, we were talking about countries and he was telling me about his home in Georgia which has wonderful wildlife. I never knew what his job was.’
Mr Glushkov’s death came a week after Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia (pictured in Zizzi in 2016) were attacked with a nerve agent in Salisbury
Another neighbour added: ‘He never mentioned his work – he was intelligent and very well-mannered. He had very good English.
‘He was very generous and friendly. At Christmas he gave us beautiful champagne. He didn’t go out much because of his illnesses, he had something wrong with his heart and had a few strokes.’
Vasily Trunin, a friend and former colleague, wrote online that Mr Glushkov was responsible for rescuing Aeroflot from ‘the Soviet backwater’. He said: ‘A great shame. He was a good friend.’
The Metropolitan Police said a post-mortem examination would take place. A spokesman added: ‘The death is being treated as an unexplained. At this stage the Met Police Counter Terrorism Command is leading the investigation as a precaution because of associations that the man is believed to have had. There is no evidence to suggest a link to the incident in Salisbury.’
Home Secretary Amber Rudd has ordered an official inquiry into a number of deaths in Britain that may be connected to Russia.
In a letter made public on Tuesday, Miss Rudd she said: ‘In the weeks to come, I will want to satisfy myself that the allegations are nothing more than that.’
Nikolai Glushkov – the Moscow-educated businessman with two degrees who scaled some of Russia’s biggest companies
Nikolai Glushkov was found dead in his South London home on Monday night by his family and friends.
He was born Glushkov Nikolay Alekseevich on Christmas Eve 1949 in the southwestern Russian city of Maikop, some 150 miles from the Georgian border.
Mr Glushkov moved north to Moscow to further his education and in 1972 he graduated from the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia with a physics degree.
He topped this up nine years later with another degree, this time in economics, from the Academy of Foreign Trade, according to Kommersant.
Glushkov spent five years in jail in Russia before being freed and claiming asylum in Britain
In 1972 he graduated from the PFUR with a degree in physics, and in 1981 he graduated from the Academy of Foreign Trade with a degree in economics.
It was to be the springboard to a high-flying career as an executive at a number of high-profile organisations.
For two years from 1986 he was head of the department of foreign trade at a state-run company called Prodintorg.
By the time he finished there, he was also the head of the All-Union Research Institute of Applied Automated Systems of the USSR State Committee for Computer Science and Computer Science.
In 1989 he appeared to start his first business relationship with Boris Berezovsky.
Mr Glushkov was appointed deputy director general of LogoVAZ, then USSR’s first capitalist car dealership, which was founded by Mr Berezovsky.
He stayed at the company for six years, eventually ending up as head of the financial department, and the two businessmen became friends.
Mr Glushkov was appointed first deputy general director of Russian airline giant Aeroflot in February 1996, but three years later his life seemingly began to unravel.
Glushkov (right in recent years and, left, during his time in Russia) was jailed in absentia in Russia last year over allegations of financial irregularities
The Prosecutor General’s Office opened a criminal investigation into both Mr Glushkov and Mr Berezovsky and in March 2004, the former was sentenced to three years and three months in prison for embezzlement.
It related to tens of millions and his friend Mr Berezovsky fled to London.
They met up again when Glushkov was freed from prison five years later and also came to Britain.
He was granted political asylum in 2010.
Russian media reported that Glushkov was granted political asylum in Britain in 2010.
Last year, Glushkov appeared on a list published by the Russian Embassy in London of Russians wanted for serious crimes whom the UK had refused to extradite.
It said Russia had sought his extradition in 2015 ‘for committing a number of severe financial offences on the territory of Russia,’ but the British government refused.
He died on Monday, March 12 in South West London.