London: The exiled Russian tycoon who was found dead in his UK home would never have committed suicide, his friends have insisted.
Police are probing claims that troubled oligarch Boris Berezovsky was murdered at his mansion.
According to the Daily Mirror, Berezovsky`s body was found on the bathroom floor after his bodyguard called emergency services to the home in Ascot, Berks, on Saturday afternoon.
Historian Dr Yuri Felshtinsky said he did not believe his close friend Berezovsky would kill himself.
He added that the oligarch talked openly about his financial difficulties, but despite the problems had been `looking ahead` to testifying at the Litvinenko inquest in London.
Dr Felshtinsky, a Russian who lives in the US, added that "Putin was dealing with Boris in the way he deals with all his enemies. Boris was a fighter and suicide was not in his DNA."
According to the report, the 67-year-old businessman was a prime target for a contract killing because he was due to be a key witness at a hearing next month of former KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko, who was murdered in 2006.
Berezovsky, who was a fierce critic of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, had been on Moscow`s most-wanted list since 2001.
A friend said the tycoon feared for his safety because the Kremlin `aimed to destroy him,` the report said.
A source said several exiled Russian billionaires who have also criticized the Kremlin have now fled their homes in Britain over fears of assassination.
Police initially thought that Berezovsky may have been poisoned by a radioactive substance like Litvinenko was, the report added.