Surrey

Alexander Perepilichnyy death: Russian was 'not in fear of his life' inquest hears

Alexander Perepilichnyy
Image caption The inquest will look at whether Alexander Perepilichnyy died of natural causes or was unlawfully killed

The widow of a Russian whistleblower who may have been poisoned has told an inquest he never feared for his life.

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

Traces of a chemical linked to a plant-based poison were found in his stomach.

Mr Perepilichnyy, a commodity dealer and trader, had been helping a specialist investment firm uncover a $230m (£150m) Russian money-laundering operation shortly before his death.

The inquest will try to establish if he was unlawfully killed and, if so, who may have been responsible.

His widow Tatiana Perepilichnaya gave evidence at the Old Bailey behind a screen in order to protect her identity.

'Threats'

The mother of two denied her husband had fallen out with an "organised crime syndicate in Russia" and said they moved to England for a change of lifestyle.

"I know if there were any threats or problems Alexander would have told me.

"In 20 years of marriage Alexander never had bodyguard or security, so our life in Russia and our life in England never varied. It's the same."

She said she was unaware of a man taking out an advert in Russia in 2011 accusing her husband of cheating him out of "a lot of money".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Perepilichnyy's death has been compared to that of Alexander Litvinenko

Mr Perepilichnyy was a dealer on the Russian stock exchange, the court heard.

Mrs Perepilichnaya said: "I just knew he was interested in that business. I didn't know what commodity meant."

The Russian was originally thought to have died of natural causes, but traces of a chemical that can be found in the poisonous plant Gelsemium elegans were later found in his stomach.

At an earlier hearing, Hermitage Capital Management claimed Mr Perepilichnyy may have been killed for helping it uncover hundreds of millions of US dollars in a Russian money-laundering operation.

A pre-inquest review in January 2016 was told Mr Perepilichnyy's death had parallels with the murder of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko.

Another hearing in June of the same year was told Interpol had been investigating Mr Perepilichnyy's suspected previous involvement with Russian criminal gangs.

The inquest is expected to last three weeks.

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