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Concerns Grow Over Mysterious Death of Russian in U.K.

A British serious-crime unit has taken over an investigation into the mysterious death of a Russian whistle-blower, police said Monday.

Alexander Perepilichny, 44, moved to Britain three years ago and had been helping Swiss prosecutors investigate a Russian criminal group suspected of being involved in major tax fraud.

The existence of the tax fraud syndicate originally came to light as part of an earlier investigation by Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died in a Russian jail in 2009.

Perepilichny collapsed and died on Nov. 10 near his home at an upscale private estate in southeastern England. Police have not been able to explain why he died, even after two autopsies, and they have ordered toxicology tests on the body.

On Monday, police said the investigation had been handed over by local police to a team of specialist detectives working for a regional major-crimes team.

"It's an unexplained death," a local police spokesman said. "They are waiting for the toxicology report, which will take a number of weeks. … [That] will be the next major milestone in the case."

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