Skip to comments.Suspect: U.K. involved in ex-spy's death
Posted on 05/31/2007 8:04:42 AM PDT by F15Eagle
MOSCOW - The Russian businessman whom Britain has named as a suspect in the killing of ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko claimed Thursday that he has evidence of British special services' involvement in the poisoning death.
Andrei Lugovoi, himself a former KGB agent, said Litvinenko tried to recruit him to gather compromising materials about Russian President Vladimir Putin for MI6, Britain's foreign intelligence agency. He claimed that British security services were unhappy with Litvinenko for boasting of his contacts with senior MI6 officials and spilling secrets.
"It's hard to get rid of the thought that Litvinenko was an agent who got out of the secret service's control and was eliminated," Lugovoi told a news conference. "Even if it was not done by the secret service itself, it was done under its control or connivance."
A British government security official, who demanded anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case, said the allegations were untrue. Britain's Foreign Office, responsible for MI6, declined to comment.
Lugovoi claimed he had evidence of his allegations but that he would only give details to Russian investigators.
Britain last week said it had enough evidence to charge Lugovoi, who also worked for the KGB and its main successor agency the FSB, in the November killing of Litvinenko.
Litvinenko, who died of poisoning by the rare radioactive isotope polonium-210, had fled to Britain several years earlier after becoming a strong critic of the Kremlin and received British citizenship.
Lugovoi and another Russian had met in London with Litvinenko on Nov. 1, the day Litvinenko said he became ill.
Britain has requested Lugovoi's extradition, but Russia has refused, saying its constitution does not permit it.
Lugovoi dismissed the British accusations against him as an attempt to divert attention from Litvinenko's contacts with British spy services. He claimed Litvinenko tried to recruit him during one of several business trips to Britain last year. At one point, he said, Litvinenko gave him a book for coding communications and a cell phone for contact with his British spy handlers. He said he refused to betray his country.
"In conversations with me, Litvinenko often went beyond his role as a recruitment agent and told me many things he shouldn't have said," Lugovoi said. "I got an impression that he was really getting out of British secret services' control. He believed that the British undervalued him and paid him too little for his service."
Oleg Gordievsky, a former top KGB spy who worked for MI6 and defected to Britain, dismissed Lugovoi's claims as "silly fantasies." He said Litvinenko had worked for domestic branches of the KGB and post-Soviet security structures and was of no interest to British intelligence.
"MI6 not interested in information about the domestic service," Gordievsky, who was a friend of Litvinenko, said on British Broadcasting Corp. television. "Litvinenko was not needed. He made signals that he might be prepared, but they said, 'We don't need you,' so he didn't work for MI6."
Konstantin Kosachev, the Kremlin-connected head of the foreign affairs committee in the lower house of the Russian parliament, urged British authorities to help investigate the "very serious accusations against British secret services."
"I do believe they will take these new versions as seriously as it should be done," Kosachev said on Russia Today television.
Lugovoi also claimed that Boris Berezovsky, a Russian billionaire living in self-exile in London who is among Putin's most powerful political foes, might have been involved in Litvinenko's death. Lugovoi said Litvinenko was angry after Berezovsky, his longtime friend and patron, cut a living allowance he paid Litvinenko.
Lugovoi claimed that Litvinenko told him he could prove that the tycoon received political asylum in Britain under false pretenses.
Russia has long sought Berezovsky's extradition to face charges of financial crimes that date back to the 1990s. Berezovsky says the charges are politically motivated.
Lugovoi claimed that Berezovsky, who briefly served as a deputy secretary of Russia's presidential Security Council during the 1990s, also was an MI6 agent and gave British intelligence sensitive information about Russia.
Berezovsky called Lugovoi's allegations "absolutely false."
"MI6 absolutely knows who are agents for its organization, it knows Berezovsky is not on that list," Berezovsky told The Associated Press. This is not the story of Lugovoi, this is the story the Kremlin wants to present to the world. The Kremlin in a corner. Putin is in a corner."
Associated Press writers D'Arcy Doran and David Stringer contributed to this report from London.
Komitat Gosudarstvennoi Bezopasnosti ping ... someday I’ll learn how to spell, LOL
Wow, that article is chock full of spin doctoring.
I hope this is a story that unfolds and doesn’t get buried.
>>>someday Ill learn how to spell
Nah, typos make messages more exciting. A game. A challenge.
Queen of all Typos
Reminds me of “Back to the Future” where the guy says “I suppose in 1985 you can buy plutonium on any street corner” - only in this case it was polonium, eh?
Somebody screwed up big time trying to off this guy. Well I guess they got him but made a huge stink - and radioactive passenger planes - oy vey
LOL - BTW I’m not saying the spy should have been killed, I’m just noting in my other post how oddly it was all handled.
If MI5/MI6 ever wanted to knock someone off they should use Polonium. Putin would get the blame.
Glow in the dark stuff.
>>>>I suppose in 1985 you can buy plutonium on any street corner
LOL! I thought of that too!
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