Patarkatsishvili Buried at Tbilisi Home

ReutersPeople carrying the coffin of Georgian tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili during the funeral Thursday at his Tbilisi home.
TBILISI, Georgia -- Thousands paid last respects Thursday to billionaire businessman and opposition politician Badri Patarkatsishvili at his funeral in the Georgian capital.

Patarkatsishvili, 52, collapsed in his home near London and died Feb. 12. British pathologists have said he had severe heart disease.

British police are still conducting toxicological tests, which are expected to be completed in several weeks.

Patarkatsishvili's widow, Inna, his two daughters and his mother were joined by leading opposition figures for the service at his large home on the outskirts of Tbilisi. He was buried in the garden of his residence.

Boris Berezovsky, Patarkatsishvili's former business partner, was absent. Berezovsky's wife did attend. Berezovsky, wanted in Russia on corruption charges that he says are politically motivated, had said he would attend if he received a visa despite fears that Georgia would act on a Russian-issued international arrest warrant for him.

Patarkatsishvili had helped lead anti-government protests in November and was under investigation in Georgia on charges of plotting to overthrow the government. He denied the accusations but acknowledged offering a senior police official $100 million if police agreed not to respond with force during street protests after the January election. Patarkatsishvili left Georgia in November and lived in Britain and Israel.

"Badri did a lot for our country," said Manana Chkuaseli, a woman in her 50s, at the funeral. "He was helping many people. It's a very big loss for all of us."

No representatives from the Georgian government attended the funeral.

AP, Reuters