NEWS: United Kingdom
Russian tycoon Mikhail Watford ‘was found hanged’ in garage of his luxury home.

The Ukrain­ian-born ener­gy mag­nate, 66, was found hanged by a gar­den­er at his Went­worth estate in Vir­ginia Water, Sur­rey on Mon­day, accord­ing to the Sun.

Police are treat­ing father-of-three Mikhail Wat­ford’s death as ‘unex­plained’, but it is not thought to be suspicious.

News of Mr Wat­ford’s death emerged on the day Boris John­son told the Com­mons that he will pub­lish a full list of peo­ple asso­ci­at­ed with Vladimir Putin’s regime, a sig­nif­i­cant pro­por­tion of whom will face sanctions.

Police were called after the prop­er­ty mag­nate, who is not among those oli­garchs already sanc­tioned, was found dead at mid­day on Monday.

Yes­ter­day his Eston­ian wife Jane, 41, post­ed a pho­to on social media show­ing her kiss­ing her hus­band in the grounds of their mansion.

It comes after the 2012 death of mil­lion­aire Russ­ian busi­ness­man Alexan­der Perepilich­nyy, 44, who lived in the exclu­sive St George’s Hill area of Weybridge.

Accord­ing to The Sun, a fam­i­ly friend said that Wat­ford’s state of mind could have been rat­tled over the war in Ukraine, launched by Rus­sia last week.

‘The tim­ing of his death and the inva­sion of Ukraine was sure­ly not coin­ci­den­tal,’ the source told the news­pa­per. Anoth­er asso­ciate told The Sun Wat­ford’s death ‘rais­es ques­tions’ after oth­er sus­pi­cious deaths of Russ­ian nationals.

Sur­rey Police were accused of ‘incom­pe­tence’ over their inves­ti­ga­tion. There were claims he was poi­soned, per­haps with a plant tox­in known as ‘heart­break grass’ – although a coro­ner con­clud­ed in 2018 that he died from nat­ur­al causes.

Born Mikhail Tol­stosheya in 1955 in Ukraine when it was part of the Sovi­et Union, Mr Wat­ford made his for­tune in oil and gas before build­ing a prop­er­ty empire in Britain.

He changed his name to Wat­ford when he moved to the UK, where he snapped up homes in Eaton Square in Bel­gravia, cen­tral Lon­don, a £18 mil­lion man­sion in Vir­ginia Water, Sur­rey, and, most recent­ly, a series of prop­er­ties on the Went­worth estate.

In 2015, he com­plained about how dif­fi­cult it was to find a ‘supery­acht-per­fect’ man­sion out­side of London.

Unable to find a house to meet his exact­ing stan­dards, Mr Wat­ford com­mis­sioned his own 9,640 sq ft sprawl­ing prop­er­ty, boast­ing that the wrought-iron gates were made by the com­pa­ny that sup­plied Kens­ing­ton Palace, and the £56,000 dri­ve­way was mod­elled on the cir­cu­lar stone piaz­zas out­side King’s Col­lege, Cam­bridge. ‘I want per­fec­tion, noth­ing less,’ he said.

‘In Lon­don – May­fair, Knights­bridge, Bel­gravia – it’s pos­si­ble to find top quality.

‘But out­side Lon­don, no. Not even near. It would­n’t be right for me to say the hous­es are cheap. I don’t want to be rude, but they’re wrong style, wrong fin­ish­es, not high-end qual­i­ty. Not for us.’

Mr Wat­ford claimed his weak­ness for ‘top, top qual­i­ty’ came from build­ing superyachts.

In 2007, the twice-mar­ried tycoon hit the head­lines when he sued two women from his Chelsea prop­er­ty devel­op­ment and design firm, High Life Devel­op­ments, after they claimed he had made improp­er advances at a party.

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