Russia prepares request for meeting with Scotland Yard into probe of mysterious death of Russian businessman Nikolai Glushkov

'This murder has a criminal as well as political dimension'

Daniel Khalili-Tari
Sunday 08 April 2018 10:29
Nikolai Glushkov was found dead at his home in early March
Nikolai Glushkov was found dead at his home in early March

Russia is preparing to request a meeting with the head of Scotland Yard over its investigation into the suspected murder of Russian businessman, Nikolai Glushkov.

A critic of Vladimir Putin, Glushkov, was found dead at his home in New Maiden, south London, by his daughter on 12 March.

An inquest heard that the 68-year-old had died from compression to the neck where strangulation marks were found. An open verdict was recorded.

​On the day of his death, he was due to defend himself against claims of embezzling money from Russia’s state airline, Aeroflot. In 2017, Glushkov, who had been living in the UK since 2010, after being granted political asylumh, was sentenced in absentia to eight years in prison for stealing $123m (£87m) from the airline carrier.

The Russian Embassy in London said numerous requests for details on the investigation into the death of Nikolay Glushkov had not been fulfilled by the Foreign Office (FCO), which instead referred the Kremlin’s officials to the Metropolitan Police.

In a statement, it accused British officials of deliberately withholding information, saying it had been denied similar requests over the Salisbury spy poisoning probe.

“For Russia this murder has a criminal as well as political dimension,” it said. “Almost a month has passed since Glushkov’s death and like it happened with Sergei and Yulia Skripal, the British side provided no information. Given our numerous requests, the only thing we can suggest is that it is done deliberately.

“According to the British media, the Russian citizen died in strange and mysterious circumstances shortly after the poisoning of the Skripal family. The ambassador, taking advantage of the FCO advice, plans to request a meeting with the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in order to invite the British side to provide us detailed information on the course of the investigation.”

As an inquest into Glushkov’s death opened in March, ambassador Alexander Yakovenko said the FCO had failed to provide “any meaningful response” to its requests under the Vienna Convention.

The Russian Embassy said it had learned about the businessman’s suspected murder through the media.

The events mark increasing hostility between the UK and Russia, as tensions heighten over the ongoing probe into the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who were left in critical condition after they were exposed to the Novichok nerve agent at his home in Salisbury.

The Russian Embassy has previously requested a meeting with Boris Johnson to discuss the “situation in Salisbury”. The move came as Mr and Ms Skripal made a remarkable recovery after being poisoned with a nerve agent last month, which had left both of them in a critical condition.

In response to the Russian Embassy’s request, a Foreign Office spokesperson said:

“It’s Russia’s response that has been unsatisfactory. It’s over three weeks since we asked Russia to engage constructively and answer a number of questions relating to the attempted assassinations of Mr Skripal and his daughter.

“Now, after failing in their attempts in the UN and international chemical weapons watchdog this week and with the victims’ condition improving, they seem to be pursuing a different diversionary tactic.

“We will of course consider their request and respond in due course.”