VIENNA - Spat at in public by a fellow Libyan who called him a thief, watching his back on long walks through Vienna, eating poorly; Muammar Gaddafi's fugitive oil supremo was a troubled man in the months before he was found drowned in the Danube two weeks ago.

Just whom, or what, Shokri Ghanem feared may hold a key to his mysterious sudden death, just as he was under mounting pressure to reveal what he knew of suspect deals with foreign oil buyers that made billionaires of the late dictator's family.

Ghanem, a former prime minister who ran Libya's oil industry until he fled during last year's civil war, was in negotiations when he died with the victorious former rebels to give evidence, a source close to those discussions in Tripoli told Reuters.

But Ghanem himself told Reuters in December, two months after Gaddafi was killed and shortly after his son Saif al-Islam was arrested, that he feared returning to Tripoli: "One man they were interviewing, they threw him out of the window," he said.

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