March 23 - Former Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, a fierce critic of President Vladimir Putin found dead at his home near London. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Former Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, a fierce critic of President Vladimir Putin, has been found dead at his home near London, a prominent Russian opposition figure said on Saturday (March 23). He was 67. Berezovsky was a Moscow powerbroker under the late President Boris Yeltsin before falling out with Putin and fleeing to Britain in 2001. Andrei Sidelnikov, who was a friend of Berezovsky's, told Reuters that he had died at home. There were no immediate details about how or when Berezovsky died. Britain's Foreign Office and police had no immediate comment. One of his London-based spokesmen said she was checking the reports of his death. Berezovsky lost a high-profile court case against Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich in London last year after a $6 billion legal battle related to the post-Soviet division of Russia's vast natural resources. Berezovsky, who orchestrated the re-election of Boris Yeltsin in 1996 and played a role in Putin's rise to power, was granted political asylum in Britain in 2003.