Slain Putin Critic Was Victim of Kremlin Persecution, Top British Court Says

Nikolai Glushkov, an exiled Putin critic, was due in court over a $99m compensation claim by Russian airline Aeroflot the day he was strangled in his London home

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Nikolai Glushkov, a Russian businessman and exiled critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin who was strangled to death in March, was due in court the day he was killed over a $99m compensation claim by Russian airline Aeroflot, the High Court revealed Friday.

>>'Moscow Rules': Why Russian defectors are fair game in Britain - and not in Israel

A judge ordered Aeroflot to pay five million pounds (about $6.64 million) over its pursuit of the 68-year-old dissident, according to British media, which was continued "to the bitter end." Glushkov, who had once worked for Aeroflot, was described by the court as "courteous, temperate and helpful" while Aeroflot's actions were described as politically motivated persecution by the Kremlin.

Glushkov was found at his home in New Malden, southwest London, with a postmortem concluding he had died of “compression to the neck.” British police said there was no sign of forced entry to his house.

Glushkov was an associate of late Russian-Jewish tycoon and fellow Putin critic Boris Berezovsky, one of Russia’s most powerful figures in the years after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Berezovsky fled to London after a row with Putin in 2000. He was found dead in March 2013 with a scarf tied around his neck in the bathroom of a luxury mansion west of London.

Police and forensic experts concluded that Berezovsky had committed suicide but a British coroner concluded he could not be sure if the Russian killed himself or was the victim of foul play.

Glushkov was also friends with Marina Litvinenko, whose husband Alexander was poisoned with a rare radioactive isotope in 2006, a killing a British public inquiry said was carried out by two Russians in an operation probably ordered by Putin. Moscow has rejected any suggestion of involvement in the murder.

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