Skip to comments.Poison: KGB men to face Litvinenko murder charges [Scotland Yard prepared to act]
Posted on 04/22/2007 8:43:51 AM PDT by aculeus
Scotland Yard detectives are to issue arrest warrants against three former KGB officers suspected of poisoning ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko.
Police have told sources close to Mr Litvinenko's widow Marina that they intend to lay charges of murder and poisoning against the men, who met the victim three weeks before his death in London.
The move will damage the already strained relationship between Downing Street and the Kremlin, which is almost certain to block any request for the men's arrest and extradition.
Warrants are expected to be issued against Andrei Lugovoy, Dmitri Kovtun and Vyacheslav Sokolenko within the next few weeks.
All three former agents have vehemently protested their innocence of any involvement in the murder plot. They all claim that they, too, were contaminated with the deadly radioactive material polonium-210 which poisoned Mr Litvinenko, a strong critic of President Vladimir Putin's regime.
Mr Putin's government is already furious with Tony Blair for granting political asylum to billionaire dissident Boris Berezovsky, who has continued to demand the overthrow of the Russian leader from his UK base.
Tensions increased further on Friday when EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson warned that relations with Moscow contained 'a level of misunderstanding, or even mistrust, we have not seen since the end of the Cold War'.
Forty-three-year-old Mr Litvinenko, himself a former KGB officer who had been granted political asylum to live in Britain, suffered a horrific death in a London hospital on November 23 last year after poison caused his hair to drop out and his vital organs to close down.
Mr Litvinenko had previously met the three prime suspects - who are now all wealthy businessmen based in Moscow - at the Millennium Hotel in Piccadilly and a nearby sushi bar.
The Metropolitan Police refused to comment on the murder inquiry, but Litvinenko family sources told The Mail on Sunday police had enough evidence to bring charges 'within three weeks'.
Britain has no extradition treaty with Russia, meaning that any trial would most probably have to be held in Moscow with the co-operation of the authorities there.
The Russians want Mr Berezovsky to face trial for calling last week for a revolution to overthrow President Putin and have twice demanded his extradition from Britain.
Mr Berezovsky, who has several substantial homes in the UK, said during a business trip to Israel last week: "I have no doubt that my extradition from Britain is impossible. However much the Russian prosecutors would want it, I didn't break Russian or British laws."
When asked about British unease over his comments on toppling President Putin, Mr Berezovsky said: "I did not get political asylum in Britain just to shut up." And, repeating earlier attacks on Mr Putin, whom he accused of corruption before escaping Russia, Mr Berezovsky added: "Any other way of changing this anti-constitutional regime, except for a coercive one which includes revolution, is impossible.
"I repeat it once again. And I am not scared at all that as a result I can be extradited."
Mrs Litvinenko, 44, who called her late husband by his pet name "Sasha', and her 12-year-old son Anatoly have been under police protection at a secret address ever since her husband's death.
Before he died, her husband blamed Mr Putin and his regime for his murder, a claim strongly denied by the Kremlin.
In December, nine Scotland Yard detectives flew to Moscow as part of their investigation. They were not allowed to interview Mr Lugovoy or Mr Kovtun directly, although they were present when Russian police officers interviewed them. They were not granted any access to Mr Sokolenko.
Senior Russian prosecutor Konstantin Nikonov told The Mail on Sunday last night: "We have no information yet that the British authorities have requested moves to bring charges against Mr Lugovoy, Mr Kovtun and Mr Sokolenko."
The Crown Prosecution Service said no decisions had been taken about charges in the Litvinenko case.
What I don`t understand is why they used radioactive pulonium of all things instead of something like cyanide which I heard is hard for a medical examiner to detect unless he is specifically looking for it. Or why didn`t they just shoot him? Maybe they wanted him to suffer? Freggin` commie punks.
England does not have the stones [anymore].
I’m sure those KGB guys are scared to death knowing that 2000 miles away, some lawyer has written their names on a piece of paper.
Because the other ways you describe are common, anyone could do it. The russians wanted others to know exactly where it came from.
Cyanide works too fast- within minutes, and is extremely well known to forensic investigators. polonium was something new.
Huh? What are you proposing we do? Invade Russia just to get a murder suspect?
Save your xenophobia for a sensible suggestion.
No drunks allowed. Go away excuse making hooligan.
No, come on Einstein, tell us what you would do.
I really can’t wait to see the idea. Should provide a good giggle.
First of all, this is not a legal matter...it is counterespionage.
Look dummy. You simply send someone to Russia and whack a Russian Intel officer.
What are the Russians going to do? Go to war with the US over it...cuz that is the logical conclusion of continuing to escalate this.
You bully bullies or they’ll bully you.
But like I said, the Brits do not have the minerals anymore. As it is, the Brits did what all effeminate governments do...book a conference room, have a press conference and then issue an empty arrest warrant or subpoena.
Yeah, that’ll teach the KGB to not assassinate anyone inside of Britain.
“there are like all of ten people on this thread”
Isn’t that something, you would think there would be more interest than what there is.
I think you have the second part exactly right.