Politics

Ukraine-born oligarch Mikhail Watford found dead on luxury Surrey estate

An investigation has been launched into the death of a Ukrainian-born oligarch, who was found dead at his home.

Officers were called to the £18m luxury home of Mikhail Watford around 12pm on Monday, February 28.

Mr Watford, in his 60s, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The police force investigating the death said there were no supsicious circumstances “at this time”. 

It is understood that Mr Watford was born in 1955 in then-Soviet Ukraine but moved to the UK in the early 2000s.

According to a Sunday Times profile in 2015, he made his fortune in oil and gas, and moved to Surrey from London with his Estonian wife Jane.

He described his childhood as relatively extravagant, telling the newspaper: “We had a big four-bedroom apartment with a bath, and a car — which, in terms of luxury, was the equivalent of travelling by jet now.”

It was also reported he had changed his name from Tolstosheya after moving to the UK.

The property where his body was found is on a private road on the exclusive Wentworth Estate in Virginia Water, Surrey. 

It comes as a raft of Russian oligarchs face sanctions from the UK Government in response to Putin’s war in Ukraine.

This evening, two oligarchs thought to be part of Putin’s inner circle were sanctioned by Liz Truss.

Mr Watford’s death comes after the attempted murder on UK soil of the former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia and the death of Alexander Litvinenko on UK soil, which the Kremlin is accused of ordering.

There is no suggestion that Mr Watford has been the target of British-backed sanctions owing to a proximity to Putin, however. 

Surrey police said: “We were called around midday on Monday 28 February following reports of the discovery of a man’s body at an address in Portnall Drive, Wentworth.

“An ambulance was called but the man, who was in his 60s, was sadly pronounced dead at the scene. His next of kin are aware and are being supported by specially trained officers.

“An investigation into the circumstances of the death is under way but it is not believed there are any suspicious circumstances at this time.”

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