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Quiet funeral held for colorful Russian tycoon

May 8, 2013 at 7:43 PM

LONDON, May 8 (UPI) -- Boris Berezovsky, the combative Russian tycoon who died in late March in an apparent suicide, was quietly laid to rest Wednesday in a London suburb.

About 30 people attended the funeral service in a chapel at Brookwood Cemetery near Woking, Surrey, The Guardian reported. They included Berezovsky's children, his attorneys and friends such as Akhmed Zakayev, a Chechen separatist leader living in London.

Berezovsky, 67, a scientist and government official in the Soviet Union, became a billionaire acquiring privatized assets in the 1990s. He was an early backer of Russian President Vladimir Putin and then one of his bitterest enemies.

"He was a friend. I miss him. I'm very grateful to Boris. Through him I felt the touch of history," a close friend, Alex Goldfarb, told The Guardian. "He was responsible for Yeltsin, and then for peace in Chechnya and then for Putin and then for anti-Putin."

The cause of death has not been definitively determined, although police have said there is no evidence of foul play. Berezovsky had been living in his ex-wife's Ascot mansion and his body was found on a bathroom floor there March 23.

Berezovsky had been forced to sell his own home to cover the cost of a long and unsuccessful legal battle with Roman Abramovich, owner of the Chelsea soccer club.

The service was delayed from Monday to foil pro-Putin Russian news agencies and to allow an Orthodox priest from Russia to perform the service, The Guardian said.

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