A Russian businessman found dead with a poisonous plant in his stomach could have met his assassin in Paris days before his death.

Alexander Perepilichnyy was discovered in Granville Road, part of St George's Hill, on November 10, 2012, before being pronounced dead half an hour after an ambulance arrived.

The 44-year-old's death is now being investigated by French police, according to the Daily Mail. French magistrates sent officers to investigate two five-star hotels in Paris where Mr Perepilichnyy was thought to have met a contact before his death.

Mr Perepilichnyy had given evidence against people linked to the 2009 death of anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky and was the fourth person linked to that to have died in strange circumstances.

According to RosBalt, a Russian news agency, he had provided names of corrupt officials to Moscow police and linked a hitman, Valid Lurakhmaev, to the investigation. Mr Lurakhmaev is said to have had a file on Mr Perepilinchyy at his home, which was raided in 2012.

The death was not originally considered suspicious by Surrey Police but an inquest was called to investigate the facts.

A pre-inquest hearing at Woking Coroner's Court on Monday, May 18, heard he had traces of gelsemium, a toxic plant only found in China, in his stomach. Coroner Richard Travers adjourned the four day inquest to September for further testing to take place.

A Surrey Police spokesman said: "Surrey Police, along with all other interested parties, will continue to co-operate fully with the coroner throughout the process."