Skip to comments.Russians 'set up hit squad to kill London dissidents' - LIVE THREAD
Posted on 12/01/2006 11:25:16 AM PST by MadIvan
A secret assassination squad was set up to poison former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, it was claimed today.
The allegations are contained in two letters smuggled out of a Russian jail and passed to a close friend of Mr Litvinenko.
The letters were apparently written in jail by Mikhail Trepashkin, a former Russian intelligence officer. In one, Mr Litvinenko is warned that both he and his family are at risk. Mr Litvinenko's friend Alex Goldfarb said scans of the letters came into his possession yesterday and he passed them to Scotland Yard.
In 2004 Mr Trepashkin, who worked for the KGB's successor the FSB until 1997, was accused of being a British spy and passing secret information to Mr Litvinenko and his close friend tycoon Boris Berezovsky, both exiled in London. He is currently serving a four-year sentence.
In a message to Mr Litvinenko on 20 November, Mr Trepashkin recalls a conversation in August 2002 in which he warned Mr Litvinenko - already living in London - that he and his family were at risk from the FSB.
Mr Trepashkin tells his friend that he had met an FSB contact in Russia who told him that a "very serious group" had been set up, which "will knock out all those associated with Berezovsky and Litvinenko".
"My understanding then was that they were planning to take out your relatives quietly, without much fuss," he wrote.
Mr Goldfarb said the other letter, addressed to him and written on 25 November this year, detailed an offer to be a witness in the British investigation into Mr Litvinenko's death.
Following fresh poisoning claims involving former Russian prime minister Yegor Gaidar, the Foreign Office said today that it was not linking the two cases.
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said today: "We have noted the reports of Yegor Gaidar's illness and wish him a speedy recovery. We know of no information which suggests any connection with the Litvinenko case and will continue to follow any developments closely."
Among those caught up in the radiation scare was Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell who, along with London 2012 Olympics organising committee chairman Lord Coe, flew to Barcelona last month on a BA jet checked for contamination.
"I'm feeling absolutely tiptop," she said today. "This was a scare that never was."
Just reported on FOX that an adult member of Litvinenko's family tested positive for a small amount of radiation, as well, a hotel is being evacuated for radiation testing.
If they wanted to
keep the whole thing secret then
why not just hit him
with a car?! People
get run over all the time . . .
Why use fairy dust?!
not if you leave a bumper sticker on the victim that reads 'KGB'
Call me contrary... I'm still not convinced it was an operation by the Russian government....rogue agents yes....but not the government.
Who is he?
Who is Zakaev, please? I can't remember.
And the question is
What will be done about it
Fox just announced a family member has tested positive, also a hotel evacuated. So much constant breaking info on this, we need a live thread!
Just reported that Litvinenko's wife has tested positive.
So much for Trepashkin. Hope he has his own affairs in order.
Hope this guy has his will written. Good job evening standard. I hope the editor knows he has blood on his hands.
This is from an interview conducted by Newsweek of Zakaev.
>>Assuming the Russians were involved in Litvinenkos death, why do you think there might have been a change in tactics?
First of all, I need to say that I am now a witness in the investigation, and I cannot comment on [specifics] in the press because I told openly what I think to the investigating team, to the police, but I cannot go against that. What I think happened is that they got Alexander in part because once he got his British citizenship this year, he became too relaxed and perhaps he was not as ready and cautious as he could have been. And also I think the Russian special forces did not expect the Brits to figure out what killed him, because look at all the evidence, a country with all its expertise and technology, it took them three weeks to figure out what poisoned him. Only about three hours before he died they figured out it was polonium. I do not think that the special forces thought people would figure out exactly what killed him. It also helped build this image of this secretive and unknown force that killed him.<<
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