Николай Алексеевич Глушков
Nikolay Alekseevich Glushkov
24 December 1949
|Died||12 March 2018 (aged 68)|
New Malden, London
Nikolay Alekseevich Glushkov (Russian: Николай Алексеевич Глушков; 24 December 1949 – 12 March 2018) was a Russian businessman who was the deputy director of Aeroflot and a finance manager for AvtoVAZ. After claiming that Aeroflot worked as a "cash cow to support international spying operations", he was arrested and tried in Russia on the allegation of channeling Aeroflot money through another company in 1999. He was convicted and released in 2004, after serving three years. He emigrated to the UK in 2010 and received political asylum. In 2017 he was convicted in absentia in Russia for allegedly stealing money from Aeroflot, but his extradition from Britain had been denied. Initially treated as "unexplained", his death is being investigated by the Metropolitan Police who are now treating it as a murder inquiry.
His Aeroflot job, arrests, trials, and convictions
Glushkov had been AvtoVAZ's Finance Chief until he left his job in autumn 1995 and was appointed as Deputy General Director of Aeroflot on request from Yevgeny Shaposhnikov in February 1996. According to Alexander Goldfarb, he found that the airline company worked as a "cash cow to support international spying operations": 3,000 people out of the total workforce of 14,000 in Aeroflot were FSB, SVR, or GRU officers. All proceeds from ticket sales were distributed to 352 foreign bank accounts that could not be controlled by the Aeroflot administration. Glushkov closed all these accounts and channeled the money to Swiss company called Andava in Switzerland. He also sent a bill and wrote a letter to SVR director Yevgeny Primakov and FSB director Mikhail Barsukov, asking them to pay the salaries of their intelligence officers in Aeroflot in 1996. Both Glushkov and Berezovsky were the main shareholders of Andava at that time.
In 1996, a Forbes article claimed that Glushkov was convicted of theft in 1982. Glushkov and Berezovsky sued Forbes for libel in the United Kingdom, with the ruling coming down against the publisher.
Glushkov was arrested in December 2000 by Russian law enforcers and charged with channeling money through his accounting center Andava. He was a business partner and close friend of Boris Berezovsky, who from November 2000 resided in Britain; Berezovsky had to give up his ownership of the ORT TV channel transferred them to Roman Abramovich's Sibneft) in exchange for the promise to release Glushkov, which was not fulfilled.
In April 2001 Andrey Lugovoy organized an "escape" of Glushkov from a hospital where he was kept by authorities. According to Glushkov, that was a set-up by FSB. He had no intention to escape and "was walking in his slippers to the hospital gate to go home for the night, with his guards' knowledge, as he had done a few days earlier".
During his trial, Glushkov was incarcerated in Lefortovo Prison. He was cleared of the original fraud and money laundering charges by the court in March 2004, but found guilty of attempted escape and "abuse of authority" and sentenced to 3 years and 3 months of imprisonment. Glushkov was released in the courtroom, since he had already served his sentence in the pre-trial detention center. However, the Moscow City Court rejected the verdict and returned the case for new consideration. In 2006, the Savelovsky District Court terminated the prosecution of Glushkov, but gave him a two years of suspended sentence.
Emigration to UK and extradition request
Gluskov emigrated to the UK and received political asylum in 2010. The Russian state resumed his criminal prosecution. In 2017, during a trial in absentia in Russia, Glushkov was sentenced to eight years in prison for allegedly stealing $123 million from Aeroflot. The UK refused to extradite him to Russia.
On 13 March 2018, friends of Glushkov revealed that he had been found dead the night before in his home in New Malden, London. His death was initially treated by police as unexplained. His death came a week after the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, which along with his reputation as a critic of the Putin government, was said to be the reason for putting the Counter Terrorism Command in charge of the investigation. Glushkov reportedly feared being on Putin's hit list and expected to be a likely target.
During the subsequent post-mortem his body was found to have marks consistent with strangulation on the neck. On 16 March 2018, the Metropolitan Police stated they were now treating his death as murder. However, they stated that "at this stage there is nothing to suggest any link to the attempted murders in Salisbury". Counter-terrorism investigators maintain a lead role in the investigation. The Russian Embassy in London has requested a meeting with the head of Scotland Yard over its investigation into the murder.
It was reported after his death that Glushkov may have been poisoned by two Russian men five years earlier. A paramedic said that he treated Mr Glushkov in Bristol in 2013 after he had collapsed in his room. He had been sharing drinks with two men from Moscow the night before at the Grand Hotel in Bristol and believed he had been poisoned with champagne. The paramedics found him with multiple carpet burns of his body and an unusual heart rhythm which they could not recognise.
- Harding, Luke (2018-03-13). "Russian exile Nikolai Glushkov found dead at his London home". www.theguardian.com. Retrieved 2018-03-13.
- "Murder inquiry over Russian's London death". BBC News. 16 March 2018.
- Klebnikov, Paul (2001-08-17). Godfather of the Kremlin: The Decline of Russia in the Age of Gangster Capitalism. p. 176. ISBN 978-0-15-601330-7.
- Goldfarb, Alex; Litvinenko, Marina (2007). Death of a Dissident: The Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko and the Return of the KGB. The Free Press. ISBN 978-1-4165-5165-2.
- "Aeroflot case. What Berezovsky is accused of?" (in Russian). RIA Novosti. 2007-11-22.
- "Godfather of the Kremlin?". Forbes. 6 March 2003 [Dec. 30, 1996]. Retrieved 2018-06-17.
- "Who was the exiled Russian businessman murdered in London?". The Independent. Retrieved 2018-06-17.
- "ORT Officials Accused of Contraband and Evading Customs Tariffs". Monitor (2). January 3, 2001. Archived from the original on 2006-11-22 – via The Jamestown Foundation.
- Pribylovsky, Vladimir; Felshtinsky, Yuri. "Владимир Прибыловский, Юрий Фельштинский. Операция "Наследник". Штрихи к политическому портрету В. В. Путина" [The Operation "Successor"] (in Russian).
- "Не своя смерть: Британская полиция расследует смерть Глушкова как убийство" [Not my own death: British police investigates death of Glushkov as murder] (in Russian). 16 March 2018.
- "Counter-terror police investigate death". BBC News. 13 March 2018.
- "Prosecutor again seeks 8 years in jail for Aeroflot ex-manager in embezzlement case". www.rapsinews.com. Russian Legal Information Agency. 2017-03-03. Retrieved 2018-03-13.
- "Russian emigre Nikolai Glushkov found dead in London home". CNN. 13 March 2018.
- Evans, Natalie (14 March 2018). "Russian exile feared he was on Putin's hit-list five years before his death". Retrieved 14 March 2018.
- Mendick, Robert; Dixon, Hayley; Oliphant, Roland; Ball, Tom; Horton, Helena; Sawer, Patrick; Rayner, Gordon (13 March 2018). "Putin enemy found dead in London eight days after Skripal poisoning, as counter-terror police launch investigation". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 14 March 2018 – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
- Booth, Robert; Harding, Luke; Roth, Andrew; Wintour, Patrick (2018-03-17). "Police launch murder inquiry over death of Nikolai Glushkov". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-06-17.
- "Murdered Russian 'believed he was poisoned'". BBC News. 2018-09-08. Retrieved 2018-09-16.