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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Dead Australian Was Known as 'Mr. Russia'

The 55-year-old Australian schoolteacher found dead near Sheremetyevo Airport this week was nicknamed "Mr. Russia" by his students because of his love for the country, The Australian newspaper was to report Friday.

English and history teacher Peter Julian Hughes also appeared to have led a double life, with a wife and children in Australia and a girlfriend in Russia, Moscow police and Australian officials said.

Hughes was found bound and gagged at the Sheremetyevo-2 hotel on Monday. No arrests had been made by Thursday, but police had questioned four people who accompanied Hughes to his room just hours before his death.

Hughes' students at the Blayney Catholic high school in Bathurst, New South Wales, said they called Hughes "Mr. Russia" because he spoke of little else in the classroom.

"Everyone called him Mr. Russia," one of his students told The Australian in the report that was to be published Friday. The newspaper provided excerpts Thursday.

"He told us a lot about Russia and what it was like being there," the unidentified student said. "He made Russia the topic no matter what he was supposed to be teaching us."

Hughes also told his students that he had a Russian girlfriend whom he had met in the United States and that she spoke no English, The Australian said. Hughes abruptly left the school in the middle of this year, apparently on sick leave, the newspaper said.

A maid found Hughes in a room in the Sheremetyevo-2 hotel room at 5:20 a.m. on Monday. His hands and legs were tied and his mouth was gagged, according to Russian media reports.

Police said his nose was broken, in a sign that there night have been a struggle, but they have ruled the cause of death as strangulation.

On Sunday evening, Hughes was seen drinking with several people in the hotel bar, Interfax reported.

Later that night, a hotel security camera caught Hughes going into room 504 with two men and two women, all in their early to mid-30s, according to the RTR-Vesti web site. Hughes opened the door for them.

RTR-Vesti said a maid heard the sound of running water coming from the room for several hours that night. She knocked on the door several times and, failing to get a response, alerted hotel security.

The Age newspaper, of Melbourne, Australia, reported that Hughes kept meticulous records of his expenses and $2,000 was missing, suggesting that the motive for the killing was robbery. However, Russian media said Hughes' wallet still contained money and credit cards.

Lyndall Sachs, a spokeswoman for the Australian Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry, said the four people captured on the security camera had been questioned and the investigation was in the hands of the Moscow police.

An investigator working the case said that in addition to the four suspects, several other people have been questioned, including hotel staff. He said no one has been charged yet.

He said Hughes had a Russian girlfriend but she was not a suspect.

Sachs said Hughes' family was making the funeral arrangements.

Staff Writer Nabi Abdullaev contributed to this report.