Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Spy death was murder say police as poison case takes fresh twist
The Times ^ | December 07, 2006 | Tony Halpin & Daniel McGrory

Posted on 12/07/2006 1:23:58 AM PST by Mrs Ivan

British detectives have questioned a Russian businessman who entertained Alexander Litvinenko in a London hotel on the day the former spy fell ill.

At the same time Scotland Yard confirmed that the investigation into Litvinenko’s death by radiation poisoning had become a murder inquiry.

Police have been following the trail across London left by Dimitri Kovtun and his close friend, Andrei Lugovoy. It includes a number of locations where polonium-210 has been found.

Mr Kovtun was interviewed by Russian prosecutors yesterday in the presence of the British detectives, who arrived in Moscow on Monday. He and and Mr Lugovoy were in the same Moscow clinic last night being tested for contamination by polonium-210.

Diplomats in the Russian capital also confirmed that traces of radiation had been discovered in the British Embassy, which the businessmen visited shortly after news of Litvinenko’s poisoning became public. The two men gave written statements to embassy officials and expressed their willingness to co-operate in any British inquiry.

The lawyer representing the two businessmen, Andrei Romashov, emphasised that they were being treated “as witnesses”. He disclosed that Mr Kovtun had also been interviewed briefly on Tuesday about his two trips to London.

A third Russian businessman, Vyacheslav Sokolenko, who also flew to London to watch a football match on November 1, is on the list of men British detectives want to meet.

All three men met Litvinenko at the Millennium Hotel in Grosvenor Square, London, and were among the last to see him before he succumbed to the effects of the radiation poison. They have all strenuously denied any part in his death.

Mr Lugovoy, a former KGB officer whose company is worth £50 million, has said that he believes he has been framed and is worried about how seriously he has been contaminated by polonium-210. There were reports last week from Moscow that he had been tested and showed no signs of exposure.

He denies he is trying to avoid a meeting with the detectives and says that he is fed up with allegations that he was involved in the poison plot.

Detectives working on the London end of the murder inquiry are concentrating on identifying where Mr Lugovoy went and whom he met during three trips he made in the fortnight before his former colleague was fatally poisoned.

What police have found startling is that at eight locations on the Lugovoy trail traces of polonium-210 have already been found; experts are still testing other sites.

Mr Lugovoy visited five of the sites with Litvinenko, including the Itsu sushi bar where friends of the former KGB colonel suspect he was poisoned. Mr Lugovoy says that he went there on October 16 at Litvinenko’s invitation. He told The Times: “It was one of his favourites in London. He said it was a good place to talk.”

But the poison victim was never at the Arsenal football ground, where Mr Lugovoy and a party of wealthy Russians went to watch a match on November 1. Nor was he on either of the two British Airways Boeing 767s on which Mr Lugovoy flew from Moscow and on which radioactive material was discovered.

Police are surprised that polonium-210 was found in guest rooms at both the Millennium Hotel and at the Sheraton Park Lane, when Mr Lugovoy maintains that he met Litvinenko only in the public bars and the foyers of both hotels. Mr Lugovoy’s version of events is that whoever poisoned his former colleague also contaminated him to implicate him in the plot and draw police away from the real culprits.

He and Mr Kovtun have been friends since their teenage days, when they went to the same military academy. The third man on their football trip to London, Mr Sokolenko, was at the same army college.

Mr Kovtun says that together they built up the Pershin company and that they met Litvinenko to discuss a business proposal.

TOPICS: Extended News; News/Current Events; Russia; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: litvinenko; poisoning; polonium210; russia
Who might the main suspect be? ;)
1 posted on 12/07/2006 1:24:00 AM PST by Mrs Ivan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Mrs Ivan

Putin I guess,,,lol

2 posted on 12/07/2006 3:42:53 AM PST by meanie monster (I am not a racist,,I hate everyone equally)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Mrs Ivan; All
Could it be?
He would be too old,...?
But yet.
Yes. Sidney Reily. AND he was Jewish.
I Knew it.
3 posted on 12/07/2006 4:16:03 AM PST by Gideon Reader ("The quiet gentleman sitting in the corner sipping his Kenya AA,,defaulted to the PO'ed position..)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Mrs Ivan
This is getting more and more like an old spy novel from the 80's.
4 posted on 12/07/2006 6:20:10 AM PST by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: redgolum
This is getting more and more like an old spy novel from the 80's.

Maybe Tom Clancy will get back to his keyboard.

5 posted on 12/07/2006 8:38:17 AM PST by JoeFromSidney (My book is out. Read excerpts at
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: JoeFromSidney
Because of the Muslim "conversion" bit, I'm still considering suicide and the whole affair as a "highly broadcasted" demonstration. It bears many similarities to the anthrax scenario.

The effectiveness of the chemical presents a mind boggling "future hit" on the masses.

6 posted on 12/07/2006 8:57:01 AM PST by Sacajaweau
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Mrs Ivan
I've posted this up previously, but NO one mentions the possibility that this guy was a muslim, who might just possibly have killed himself, unintentionally, by mingling with other terrorists:

Trail of Polonium210, Jihad, suitcase nukes Spy Death by Nuclear Poisoning Tied to American Hiroshima

By Paul L. Williams Ph.D. & Lee Boyland Wednesday, December 6, 2006

The death of Alexander Litvinenko by radiological poisoning points to the possibility that the former Soviet spy may have been involved with Islamic terrorists in the preparation of tactical nuclear weapons for use in the jihad against the United States and its NATO allies. Litvenenko, a former KGB agent, died in London on November 23 after ingesting a microscopic amount of polonium-210.

In a deathbed statement, Litvinenko blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for the poisoning--an accusation which the Kremlin has vehemently denied. The denial is fortified by the fact that polonium-210 is a very rare radiological substance that is man-made by bombarding Bismuth-209 with neutrons within a nuclear reactor. It is expensive to produce and difficult to handle.

When Russian officials resorted to nuclear poisoning in the past-- including the assassination of two Swiss intelligence officials who were engaged with Russia and South Africa in the nuclear black market--they relied on such readily available radiological substances as cesium-137 in salt form.

According to nuclear expert David Morgan, killing a spy or political dissident with a grain or two of polonium-210 is as ludicrous as shooting a rat with a howitzer.

Litvinenko, who was born an orthodox Christian, was a convert to Islam with close ties to the Chechen rebels. His last words consisted of his desire to be buried “according to Muslim tradition.”

In recent years, considerable attention has been paid to suitcase nukes that were developed by U.S. and Soviet forces during the Cold War. Reliable sources, including Hans Blix of the United Nation, have confirmed that bin Laden purchased several of these devices from the Chechen rebels in 1996. According to Sharif al-Masri and other al Qaeda operatives who have been taken into custody, several of these weapons have been forward deployed to the United States in preparation for al Qaeda’s next attack on American soil.

This brings us to the mysterious case of Litvinenko.

The neutron source or “triggers” of the suitcase nukes are composed of beryllium-9 and polonium-210. When these two elements are combined, the alpha particle is absorbed by the nucleus of the beryllium causing it to decay by emitting a neutron. Such “triggers” were a feature of early nuclear weapons in the U.S. and Soviet stockpiles.

Polonium-210 has a half-life of 138 days, necessitating the replacement of the triggers every six months. For this reason, the suitcase nukes are far from maintenance-free. In addition, the nuclear core of these devices emit a temperature in excess of one hundred degrees Fahrenheit - - further exposing the weapons to oxidation and rust. Small wonder that al Qaeda operatives including Adnan el-Shukrijumah, who are spearheading “the American Hiroshima” have received extensive training in nuclear technology.

Polonium-beryllium triggers are packaged in foil packs about the size of a package of sugar on a restaurant table. When the twin foil packages are crushed, the elements mix and the neutrons are emitted. A courier transporting nuclear triggers could have had a mishap causing the packages to rupture and a trail of contamination to occur.

Polonium-210 is a fine powder, easily aerosolized. Litvinenko could have inhaled the powder, or had a grain or two on his fingers when he ate the sushi.
7 posted on 12/07/2006 7:15:26 PM PST by John Frum
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson