Georgian tycoon Patarkatsishvili died of natural causes - police

Georgia Materials 14 February 2008 13:47 (UTC +04:00)

(RIA Novosti) - Georgian opposition leader and businessman Badri Patarkatsishvili died of natural causes, British police said in an autopsy report on Thursday.

Patarkatsishvili, Georgia's richest man, died late on Tuesday at the age of 52 at his home in Surrey, near London, prompting media to draw parallels with the radioactive poisoning of former Russian security officer Alexander Litvinenko in London in November 2006.

Police said they had yet to conduct toxicology tests, which will take several weeks, but a preliminary examination revealed no traces of radiation on the businessman's body.

According to Patarkatsishvili's spokesman, Guga Kvitaishvili, the tycoon died of heart failure. However, his personal doctor said that the businessman had never suffered from heart problems.

Patarkatsishvili will be buried in Georgia, his close friend Vano Chkhartishvili said on Thursday before flying out to London.

"I am going to London on a sad mission. We have to deliver Badri Patarkatsishvili's body to Georgia. His family has made a decision to bury him here," Chkhartishvili said.

Patarkatsishvili came third in the January 5 presidential polls in the ex-Soviet Caucasus state, garnering 7.1% of the vote. He was put on the wanted list at home on charges of plotting a coup during November street protests in Tbilisi against Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.