Bodyguard: Berezovsky seemed 'broken' before death

LONDON (AP) Boris Berezovsky's bodyguard said Wednesday the Russian oligarch seemed to be a broken man and had discussed killing himself before his apparent suicide last year.

Avi Navama told a coroner's inquest in Windsor, near London, that Berezovsky's mood plummeted after he lost a highly publicized billion-pound ($1.65 billion) legal dispute with fellow Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich.

He said Berezovsky seemed depressed and "very low" at the time, and had even discussed methods of ending his life.

"He had said 'Should I jump or should I cut my veins?'" Navama said.

Berezovsky's body was found slumped on the floor at his ex-wife's home last March.

Police said the death was "consistent with hanging" and that there was no sign of a struggle.

Berezovsky, who was 67, was a one-time Kremlin insider who had become a harsh critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He was living in Britain in self-imposed exile at the time of his death.

His bodyguard said Berezovsky was a changed man who complained about severe financial problems after his failure to win a court ruling against Abramovich, another prominent Russian oligarch who owns the Chelsea Football Club.

He described the courtroom loss as a "trigger" for Berezovsky's transformation from a dynamic, active man into someone suffering from depression.

At one point in the initial investigation, police advised Navama to leave the premises because of possibly high radiation a cause of concern because of the 2006 death of Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, who was murdered in London by radiation poisoning.

But officials said the high reading may have been caused by a faulty meter.

The inquest is expected to last two days.