Skip to comments.Ex-KGB agent charged with Litvinenko's murder
Posted on 05/22/2007 3:58:43 PM PDT by GodGunsGuts
Ex-KGB agent charged with Litvinenko's murder
by Robin Millard
Tue May 22, 2007
The Crown Prosecution Service demanded Tuesday the extradition of a former KGB man to face charges over the radiation murder of Alexander Litvinenko, in a move likely to seriously strain ties with Moscow.
Russian authorities immediately said they would not hand over Andrei Lugovoi, a wealthy Russian businessman, despite London's demands for "full cooperation" from Moscow over the affair.
Prosecutors called for his extradition over the poisoning of Litvinenko last November, which CPS chief Sir Ken Macdonald called an "extraordinarily grave crime."
"I have today concluded that the evidence sent to us by the police is sufficient to charge Andrei Lugovoi with the murder of Mr Litvinenko by deliberate poisoning," Macdonald said.
Lugovoi met Litvinenko, a former Russian agent turned dissident, in London on November 1 last year -- the day he was poisoned with the highly radioactive isotope polonium 210.
Litvinenko, 43, a fierce critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, died in agony in a London hospital 22 days later.
Russia has angrily denied any involvement. But Moscow's ambassador was hauled in by the Foreign Office to be told that London expects "full cooperation" in bringing Lugovoi to face justice.
Lugovoi could only be formally charged once he arrived in Britain and appeared in court after extradition from Russia, according to a spokeswoman for the CPS, which oversees criminal prosecutions in England and Wales.
The state-run Russian news agency RIA Novosti cited a source in the Moscow prosecutor general's office as saying he would never be extradited.
Anglo-Russia ties have hit a post-Cold War low with Litvinenko's murder and London-based exile Boris Berezovsky's calls to overthrow Putin. Britain refuses to extradite the tycoon.
Russia is also at odds with the West over the US missile defence system to be deployed in central Europe and United Nations plans to grant Kosovo independence from its ally Serbia.
Prime Minister Tony Blair's official spokesman said Britain was taking the Litvinenko murder very seriously.
"Obviously we have political and economic connections with Russia," he said.
"However, what that doesn't in any way obviate is the need for the international rule of law to be respected and we will not in any way shy away from trying to ensure that that happens in a case such as this," he insisted.
Litvinenko's widow Marina hailed the decision to press charges.
"I am now very anxious to see that justice is really done and that Mr Lugovoi is extradited and brought to trial in a UK court," she said.
Litvinenko was a fierce Kremlin critic and accused Moscow of being behind the poisoning in a letter released after his death.
The ex-agent, who had been granted political asylum in Britain, was administered large doses of polonium 210.
Lugovoi, who now specialises in bodyguard duties and owns a large drinks factory in Russia, flew to London with his business associate Dmitry Kovtun and met Litvinenko on November 1.
Litvinenko drank tea when he met Lugovoi and Kovtun at the Millennium Hotel in central London, where investigators later found traces of polonium and a number of staff tested positive for low level radiation contamination.
Litvinenko first complained of feeling unwell later that day.
Lugovoi and Kovtun both denied any wrongdoing.
In a Sky News television interview in January, Lugovoi denied murdering Litvinenko and said he would consider returning to Britain to face police here.
When asked if he killed Litvinenko, Lugovoi said: "Of course not."
Asked if he would be prepared to return voluntarily, he replied: "I can't exclude this."
For another hypothesis/possibility, see first two articles here:
See first to articles in link #2...very interesting
Thanks for responding. BTW, if you haven’t already done so, take a look at the first two articles contained in the link in reply #2. While the “accident” hypothesis is far from proven at this point, Epstein certainly offers definite food for thought—GGG
Fine, they don’t want to extradite him, the response is that no Russian state employee will be given any visa to enter any country in the EU.==
Same way with all EU states employees:). Then they can meet each other in Turkey:).
The state-run Russian news agency RIA Novosti cited a source in the Moscow prosecutor general’s office as saying he would never be extradited. ==
Your article didn’t say WHY he wouldn’t be extridited. Same reason no Israelies could be extradited. The constitutional ban.
Who that “nobody” is? You I guess?:)
You know, where brazen murder of innocent men in broad daylight is somewhat frowned upon.==
What do you mean? What “innocent” men?