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Inquest into mysterious death of wealthy Russian coming to an end

Alexander Perepilichnyy was on a hit list before his death, the inquest heard.

The inquest into the mysterious death of a Russian multi millionaire is expected to sit for the last time before the coroner reaches his conclusions in the long-running case.

Alexander Perepilichnyy, 44, collapsed and died while jogging near his home in Weybridge, Surrey, in 2012.

Over the past year and a half, Coroner Nicholas Hilliard QC has been examining whether the businessman was murdered with poison or died of natural causes.

The inquest has heard how the married father-of-two had appeared on a “hit list” in Moscow before his death.

He had taken out £3.5 million worth of life insurance and applied for another £5 million worth of policies amid concern to provide for his family, it has been said.

Around that time, Mr Perepilichnyy had been helping UK-based campaigner Bill Browder’s Hermitage Capital Investment to expose a 230 million US dollar (£142 million in November 2012) money-laundering operation.

And, a month before his death, he had fought off a legal challenge by a debt recovery firm allegedly led by the prime suspect in the Alexander Litvinenko poison case, Dmitry Kovtun.

Extensive tests have failed to identify any poison in Mr Perepilichnyy’s body, although experts could not categorically rule out a toxin or even a nerve agent such as Novichok.

Surrey Police has faced criticism over its handling of the investigation and during the inquest it emerged that the contents of Mr Perepilichnyy’s computer was lost.

The missing data included alleged evidence of half billion-dollar transactions, threats and links to the money-laundering case.

However, Detective Superintendent Ian Pollard, of Surrey Police, has insisted there were no signs of “third party involvement or foul play”.

The coroner resisted calls for disclosure on whether Mr Perepilichnyy was in contact with British intelligence after a Government application for secrecy in the national interest.

Interested parties, including life insurers Legal and General, Hermitage, widow Tatiana Perepilichnaya and Surrey Police are due to make closing submissions before Coroner Hilliard at the Old Bailey on Friday.

The coroner is then expected to adjourn the inquest to consider all the evidence before reaching his final conclusions at a later date.

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