Mikhail Watford: Ukraine-born oligarch found dead in Surrey mansion as police launch investigation

Police are investigating Mikhail Watford’s ‘unexplained’ death but say it is not thought to be suspicious

Holly Bancroft
Friday 04 March 2022 16:23
<p>The 66-year-old, Mikhail Watford, made his fortune in oil and gas after the demise of the <a href="/topic/soviet-union">Soviet Union</a></p>

The 66-year-old, Mikhail Watford, made his fortune in oil and gas after the demise of the Soviet Union

A Ukrainian-born tycoon who made his money in oil and gas has been found dead in his Surrey mansion.

Police are treating Mikhail Watford’s death as “unexplained”, but said that it was not thought to be suspicious.

The 66-year-old made his fortune in oil and gas after the demise of the Soviet Union and went on to build a property empire in Britain.

Born Mikhail Tolstosheya in Ukraine in 1955, he later changed his name to Watford when he moved to the UK.

Surrey Police said that his body was found on Monday at an address near Virginia Water.

A spokesperson said: “We were called around midday on Monday 28 February following reports of the discovery of a man’s body at an address in Portnall Drive, Wentworth.

“An ambulance was called but the man, who was in his 60s, was sadly pronounced dead at the scene. His next of kin are aware and are being supported by specially trained officers.

“An investigation into the circumstances of the death is under way but it is not believed there are any suspicious circumstances at this time.”

A family friend told The Sun that “his state of mind might have been affected by the situation in Ukraine”.

“The timing of his death and invasion of Ukraine was surely not coincidental,” they said.

Another associate of Mr Watford’s said: “His death raises questions. After all the suspicious deaths of Russian nationals and associated in the UK, it is only natural there will be speculation about this death.”

Mr Watford lived with his Estonian wife, their two children and an older son from his first marriage, in an £18million mansion on the Wentworth Estate in Surrey, the newspaper reported.

In an interview with The Sunday Times in 2015, Mikhail Watford described his choice in property and interior design as “superyacht perfect.”

He recounted his upbringing in Ukraine, saying: “We had a big four-bedroom apartment with a bath, and a car - which, in terms of luxury, was the equivalent of travelling by jet now.”

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