A quietly English (but high security) funeral with a Russian cast for Boris Berezovsky


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The Independent Online

At a Surrey cemetery, it was a rather English affair, but with a Russian cast.

Yelena Gorbunova was one of only around 30 or so mourners at the funeral of the oligarch Boris Berezovsky, at Brookwood Cemetery.

His partner for around 15 years, and the mother of two of his children, she had separated from him in the last few months, and had been in court seeking to have his assets frozen, so they could be transferred to her.

Under tight security at the funeral gates, the funeral decidedly low key affair, with one or two Bentleys and very few guests. Among them were his two former close protection bodyguards, one of whom is understood to have found his body, at a mansion owned by his ex-wife in Ascot, in March, where he is believed to have hanged himself.

At the height of his wealth, power and influence, Mr Berezovsky was the kingmaker in the President Yeltsin's Kremlin in the mid 1990s, with a fortune estimated between £2bn and £4bn. He fell out with President Putin, fled to the UK and attacked him while in exile - an expensive business. Last year, his failed £3.5bn court action against his former protégé, the Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich, left him near penniless, disgraced and apparently depressed. Ms Gorbunova, the mother of two his children, sat next to him throughout the four month hearing. An inquest into his death has been opened and adjourned.