Difference between revisions of "Alexander Litvinenko"

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|image=Alexander_Litvinenko.jpg
 
|image=Alexander_Litvinenko.jpg
 
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|victim_of=assassination
 
|birth_date=30 August 1962
 
|birth_date=30 August 1962
 
|death_date=23 November 2006
 
|death_date=23 November 2006
|description=An exiled Russian former security officer turned whistleblower who died of Polonium poisoning in London.
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|death_cause=poisoning
|constitutes=spook, whistleblower
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|description=An exiled Russian spook turned whistleblower who died of Polonium poisoning in London.
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|constitutes=spook, whistleblower, Russian apartment bombings/Premature death
 
|exposed=Russian apartment bombings
 
|exposed=Russian apartment bombings
 
|wikipedia=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Litvinenko
 
|wikipedia=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Litvinenko
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|death_place=London, United Kingdom
 
|death_place=London, United Kingdom
 
|nationality=United Kingdom, Soviet Union, Russian Federation
 
|nationality=United Kingdom, Soviet Union, Russian Federation
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|historycommons=http://www.historycommons.org/entity.jsp?entity=alexander_litvinenko_1
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|powerbase=http://www.powerbase.info/index.php/Alexander_Litvinenko
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|sourcewatch=http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Alexander_Litvinenko
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|spouses=Nataliya
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|birth_name=Aleksandr Valterovich Litvinenko
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|children=Alexander, Sonia, Anatoly
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'''Alexander Valterovich Litvinenko''' (30 August 1962 – 23 November 2006) was a former officer of the Russian [[FSB]] secret service, who specialised in tackling organised crime.<ref>[http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20715187 Litvinenko death: Russian spy 'was working for MI6'] – BBC News, 13 December 2012</ref> In November 1998, Litvinenko and several other FSB officers publicly accused their superiors of ordering the assassination of the Russian tycoon and oligarch [[Boris Berezovsky]]. Litvinenko was arrested the following March on charges of exceeding the authority of his position. He was acquitted in November 1999 but re-arrested before the charges were again dismissed in 2000. He fled with his family to London and was granted political asylum in the United Kingdom, where he worked as a journalist, writer and "''consultant''" for both [[MI5]] and [[MI6]]
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'''Alexander Valterovich Litvinenko''' was a former officer of the Russian [[FSB]] secret service, who specialised in tackling organised crime.<ref>[http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20715187 Litvinenko death: Russian spy 'was working for MI6'] – BBC News, 13 December 2012</ref> In November 1998, Litvinenko and several other FSB officers publicly accused their superiors of ordering the assassination of the Russian tycoon and oligarch [[Boris Berezovsky]]. Litvinenko was arrested the following March on charges of exceeding the authority of his position. He was acquitted in November 1999 but re-arrested before the charges were again dismissed in 2000. He fled with his family to London and was granted political asylum in the United Kingdom, where he worked as a journalist, writer and "''consultant''" for both [[MI5]] and [[MI6]]
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==Background==
 
==Background==
::Born in Voronezh, south-west Russia, he joined the army out of school, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel. Then, in the dying days of the Soviet Union in 1988, he entered the counter-intelligence department of the [[KGB]].
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Litvinenko was born in Voronezh, south-west [[Russia]]. After [[school]] he joined the army and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. Then, in the dying days of the Soviet Union in 1988, he entered the counter-intelligence department of the [[KGB]]. In 1991, once the KGB's directorates had split up, he worked for the federal security service ([[FSB]]), fighting "[[terrorism]]" and organised crime, sometimes operating in [[Chechnya]]. In 1997 he moved to one of the most secret divisions of the service, a unit called [[URPO]] investigating "organised criminal formations".<ref>[http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/2006/nov/25/guardianobituaries.russia Obituary: Alexander Litvinenko], by [[Tom Parfitt]], ''[[The Guardian]]'', 25 November 2006.</ref>
  
::In 1991, once the KGB's directorates had split up, he worked for the federal security service ([[FSB]]), fighting terrorism and organised crime, sometimes operating in Chechnya. In 1997 he moved to one of the most secret divisions of the service, a unit called [[URPO]] investigating "organised criminal formations".<ref>[http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/2006/nov/25/guardianobituaries.russia Obituary: Alexander Litvinenko], by [[Tom Parfitt]], [[The Guardian]], 25 November 2006.</ref>
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==Allegations about Berezovsky and the Russian apartment bombings==
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Alexander Litvinenko had been tasked to counter attempts by the [[Russian mafia]] to infiltrate the security services, but came to realise he was not succeeding. In November 1998, Litvinenko staged a press conference in Moscow, in which he accused the [[FSB]] – then headed by [[Vladimir Putin]] – of ordering him to assassinate [[Boris Berezovsky]], fuelling a firestorm in the Russian parliament. Within days Litvinenko was under investigation and within weeks found himself in prison. His allies contrived his release in December 1999 and by the summer of 2000 they were urging him to flee or face a lifetime in a political gulag.
  
==Boris Berezovsky==
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Boris Berezovsky had already installed himself in London and was busy sponsoring every enemy of Putin who crossed his path. He owed a debt of gratitude to Litvinenko and, in November 2000, Berezovsky arranged for him, Marina and their son, Anatoly, to escape from Russia, sending biochemist [[Alex Goldfarb]], a Russian émigré and pro-democracy campaigner, to escort the family to London.
:It is understood that he had special responsibility for countering attempts by the Russian mafia to infiltrate the security services. In 1998, he declared his failure at this task. At a press conference he accused the FSB, then headed by Mr Putin, of ordering him to assassinate Mr [[Boris Berezovsky|Berezovsky]]. In turn charged with corruption by Moscow, Mr Litvinenko fled to London and continued his onslaught with a book, The FSB Blows Up Russia, in which he accused his former employers of murdering 300 people in 1999 by demolishing apartment blocks with explosives and blaming the attacks on Chechen rebels.<ref>[http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/who-killed-litvinenko-425690.html Who Killed Litvinenko?], by [[Cahal Milmo]], [[The Independent]], 25 November 2006.</ref>
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Alexander Litvinenko assumed he would be feted in the west. He looked to the experiences of other leading exiles, including [[Oleg Gordievsky]], the far more senior former [[KGB]] London station chief and an old friend, who had been embraced by the British authorities when he defected in 1985. In London, Litvinenko continued his onslaught with a book, ''[[The FSB Blows Up Russia]]'', in which he accused his former employers of the 1999 [[Russian apartment bombings]] which killed about 300 people and was exploited as a [[casus belli]] for the attacks on Chechen rebels.<ref>[http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/who-killed-litvinenko-425690.html Who Killed Litvinenko?], by [[Cahal Milmo]], ''[[The Independent]]'', 25 November 2006.</ref>
  
 
==Global Drug Trade==
 
==Global Drug Trade==
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==Mitrokhin Commission==
 
==Mitrokhin Commission==
 
In December 2003, Litvinenko was approached by [[Mario Scaramella]] to take part in the [[Mitrokhin Commission]] that had been formed two years earlier by prime minister [[Silvio Berlusconi]] ostensibly to discover if senior figures in the Italian establishment had been in the pay of the [[KGB]] - in reality a vehicle for smearing Berlusconi's socialist enemies.
 
In December 2003, Litvinenko was approached by [[Mario Scaramella]] to take part in the [[Mitrokhin Commission]] that had been formed two years earlier by prime minister [[Silvio Berlusconi]] ostensibly to discover if senior figures in the Italian establishment had been in the pay of the [[KGB]] - in reality a vehicle for smearing Berlusconi's socialist enemies.
::The commission was a meal ticket and would enable him to see more of his brother, [[Maxim Litvinenko|Maxim]], who had fled Russia before him and was living in Senigallia, a small Italian port on the Adriatic coast. Litvinenko's only concern was about the value of the information he had to bring to the table. In the [[FSB]], he'd had no connection with the foreign wing and no knowledge of its network of recruits in abroad, the people who were to be the focus of the commission.
 
  
::To back him up, he took along a new contact he had made through the Berezovsky circle, [[Evgeni Limarev]], also a Russian exile, who lived in France and was the son of a high-ranking [[KGB]] officer.<ref>[http://www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,,2246124,00.html Why a spy was killed], by [[Cathy Scott-Clark]] and [[Adrian Levy]], [[The Guardian]], 26 January 2008.</ref>
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The Commission was a meal ticket and would enable him to see more of his brother, [[Maxim Litvinenko|Maxim]], who had fled Russia before him and was living in Senigallia, a small Italian port on the Adriatic coast. Litvinenko's only concern was about the value of the information he had to bring to the table. In the [[FSB]], he'd had no connection with the foreign wing and no knowledge of its network of recruits in abroad, the people who were to be the focus of the commission.
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To back him up, he took along a new contact he had made through the Berezovsky circle, [[Evgeni Limarev]], also a Russian exile, who lived in France and was the son of a high-ranking [[KGB]] officer.<ref name=Why>[http://www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,,2246124,00.html Why a spy was killed], by [[Cathy Scott-Clark]] and [[Adrian Levy]], [[The Guardian]], 26 January 2008.</ref>
  
 
Targets of the [[Mitrokhin Commission]] included former Italian Prime Ministers [[Romano Prodi]] and [[Massimo D'Alema]], Green Party leader [[Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio]], other senior politicians, intelligence officials and judges, as well as journalists from [[La Repubblica]].  
 
Targets of the [[Mitrokhin Commission]] included former Italian Prime Ministers [[Romano Prodi]] and [[Massimo D'Alema]], Green Party leader [[Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio]], other senior politicians, intelligence officials and judges, as well as journalists from [[La Repubblica]].  
  
 
===Romano Prodi===
 
===Romano Prodi===
::Litvinenko had no compunction in recalling a piece of gossip he had been told by a former KGB deputy director as he fled Russia. In 2000, General [[Anatoly Trofimov]] had warned Litvinenko not to go to Rome since "Prodi is our man in Italy". He was referring to [[Romano Prodi]], the former Italian prime minister who went on to become president of the European Commission.
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Litvinenko had no compunction in recalling a piece of gossip he had been told by a former KGB deputy director as he fled Russia. In 2000, General [[Anatoly Trofimov]] had warned Litvinenko not to go to Rome since "Prodi is our man in Italy". He was referring to [[Romano Prodi]], the former Italian prime minister who went on to become president of the European Commission.
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Now Litvinenko regurgitated the unfounded claim to Scaramella who persuaded him to write it down.<ref name=Why/>
  
::Now Litvinenko regurgitated the unfounded claim to Scaramella who persuaded him to write it down.<ref>[http://www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,,2246124,00.html Why a spy was killed], by [[Cathy Scott-Clark]] and [[Adrian Levy]], [[The Guardian]], 26 January 2008.</ref>
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On 29 March 2006, Litvinenko met [[UKIP]] MEP [[Gerard Batten]] at the ''Itsu'' restaurant in London. Four days later, with an Italian general election imminent, Batten called for an Inquiry into Prodi in the [[European Parliament]]. Prodi responded by threatening to sue Litvinenko and Scaramella. In the resulting controversy, [[Silvio Berlusconi]] was forced to wind up the [[Mitrokhin Commission]], and Prodi won the election.<ref name=Why/>
On 29 March 2006, Litvinenko met [[UKIP]] MEP [[Gerard Batten]] at the Itsu restaurant in London. Four days later, with an Italian general election imminent, Batten called for an Inquiry into Prodi in the [[European Parliament]]. Prodi responded by threatening to sue Litvinenko and Scaramella. In the resulting controversy, [[Silvio Berlusconi]] was forced to wind up the [[Mitrokhin Commission]], and Prodi won the election.<ref>[http://www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,,2246124,00.html Why a spy was killed], by [[Cathy Scott-Clark]] and [[Adrian Levy]], [[The Guardian]], 26 January 2008.</ref>
 
  
 
===The Imam Rapito Affair===
 
===The Imam Rapito Affair===
Litvinenko, Limarev and Scaramella met in Italy with [[Robert Seldon Lady]], a [[CIA agent]] posted as a political officer to the US consulate in Milan. Lady was allegedly involved in the so-called [[Imam Rapito]] affair, the kidnapping of Egyptian cleric [[Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr]]. The [[Mitrokhin Commission]] investigated allegations that the prosecutor in the case, [[Armando Spataro]], had secret links to the [[KGB]].<ref>[http://www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,,2246124,00.html Why a spy was killed], by [[Cathy Scott-Clark]] and [[Adrian Levy]], [[The Guardian]], 26 January 2008.</ref>
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Litvinenko, Limarev and Scaramella met in Italy with [[Robert Seldon Lady]], a [[CIA agent]] posted as a political officer to the US consulate in Milan. Lady was allegedly involved in the so-called [[Imam Rapito]] affair, the kidnapping of Egyptian cleric [[Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr]]. The [[Mitrokhin Commission]] investigated allegations that the prosecutor in the case, [[Armando Spataro]], had secret links to the [[KGB]].<ref name=Why/>
  
 
===Semion Mogilevich===
 
===Semion Mogilevich===
Litvinenko and Scaramella clamed that [[Semion Mogilevich]], a Ukrainian organised crime boss, had extensive links to the [[Vladimir Putin|Putin]] government in Russia.
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Litvinenko and Scaramella clamed that [[Semion Mogilevich]], a Ukrainian organised crime boss, had extensive links to the [[Vladimir Putin|Putin]] government in Russia.<ref name=Why/>
<ref>[http://www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,,2246124,00.html Why a spy was killed], by [[Cathy Scott-Clark]] and [[Adrian Levy]], [[The Guardian]], 26 January 2008.</ref>
 
  
 
===Alexander Talik===
 
===Alexander Talik===
 
In October 2005, Litvinenko accused Ukrainian [[Alexander Talik]] of being an [[FSB]] agent in Italy with links to Mogilevich. Talik claimed he had been framed after refusing to provide information to Scaramella.
 
In October 2005, Litvinenko accused Ukrainian [[Alexander Talik]] of being an [[FSB]] agent in Italy with links to Mogilevich. Talik claimed he had been framed after refusing to provide information to Scaramella.
  
In the same month, Litvinenko and Scaramella gave Italian police details of a plot to Kill Litvinenko's borther Maxim. In November Litvinenko released the story in the Ukrainian press.  
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In the same month, Litvinenko and Scaramella gave Italian police details of a plot to Kill Litvinenko's borther Maxim. In November Litvinenko released the story in the Ukrainian press. By now the Italian police had begun tapping the phones of Litvinenko, Scaramella and Talik.<ref>[http://www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,,2246124,00.html Why a spy was killed], by [[Cathy Scott-Clark]] and [[Adrian Levy]], [[The Guardian]], 26 January 2008.</ref>
By now the Italian police had begun tapping the phones of Litvinenko, Scaramella and Talik.<ref>[http://www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,,2246124,00.html Why a spy was killed], by [[Cathy Scott-Clark]] and [[Adrian Levy]], [[The Guardian]], 26 January 2008.</ref>
 
  
==Andrei Lugovoi==
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===Andrei Lugovoi===
In January 2006, Litvinenko attended [[Boris Berezovsky]]'s birthday party at Blenheim Palace. He was seated with [[Andrei Lugovoi]], who, according to [[The Guardian]] was a former [[KGB]] and [[FSB]] colleague of [[Alexander Talik]]. Livinenko reportedly told [[Alex Goldfarb]] that he had agreed to become Lugovoi's man in London.<ref>[http://www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,,2246124,00.html Why a spy was killed], by [[Cathy Scott-Clark]] and [[Adrian Levy]], [[The Guardian]], 26 January 2008.</ref>
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In January 2006, Litvinenko attended [[Boris Berezovsky]]'s birthday party at Blenheim Palace. He was seated with [[Andrei Lugovoi]], who, according to ''[[The Guardian]]'' was a former [[KGB]] and [[FSB]] colleague of [[Alexander Talik]]. Litvinenko reportedly told [[Alex Goldfarb]] that he had agreed to become Lugovoi's man in London.<ref name=Why/>
  
==Limarev claims==
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===Limarev claims===
In October 2006, [[Evgeni Limarev]] sent [[Scaramella]] a series of emails claiming that the Russians were out to kill everyone connected with the [[Mitrokhin Commission]]. These emails were reportedly the subject of Scaramella's final meeting with Litvinenko.<ref>[http://www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,,2246124,00.html Why a spy was killed], by [[Cathy Scott-Clark]] and [[Adrian Levy]], [[The Guardian]], 26 January 2008.</ref>
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In October 2006, [[Evgeni Limarev]] sent Scaramella a series of emails claiming that the Russians were out to kill everyone connected with the [[Mitrokhin Commission]]. These emails were reportedly the subject of Scaramella's final meeting with Litvinenko.<ref name=Why/>
  
 
==Polonium poisoning==
 
==Polonium poisoning==
Litvinenko was poisoned with the radioactive substance polonium at some time on or around 1 November 2006.
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Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned with the radioactive substance Polonium-210 at some time on or around 1 November 2006.
  
===Millennium Hotel Meeting===
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===Millennium Hotel meeting===
::The first, at 10am, was at the Millennium Mayfair Hotel in central London with [[Sergei Lugovoy]], a former KGB bodyguard and businessman who runs a security company in Moscow. Mr Lugovoy said he had been in London to watch a football match between Arsenal and CSKA Moscow. Also at the meeting were two other people unknown to Mr Litvinenko [[Dmitry Kovtun]], the business partner of Mr Lugovoy, and another friend and partner named as [[Vyacheslav Sokolenko]]. Friends of Mr Litvinenko insist that he drank tea during the meeting.<ref>[http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/who-killed-litvinenko-425690.html Who Killed Litvinenko?], by [[Cahal Milmo]], [[The Independent]], 25 November 2006.</ref>
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{{YouTubeVideo
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|code = 2Xq3LXKnatw
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|caption = Persuasive evidence that Sir [[Robert Owen]]'s conclusions about those responsible for the death of Litvinenko are dead wrong
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}}
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At about 10am on 1 November 2006, Litvinenko met with [[Andrei Lugovoi]] who had also served in the FSB until 1999, and who then owned a private security firm in Moscow, in the Pine  bar of the Millennium Hotel in Mayfair (close to the US embassy). He had been meeting Lugovoi on his trips to London for several months, and two weeks earlier had brought him to [[Erinys International]], one of the security companies in [[Boris Berezovsky|Berezovsky]]'s building, to discuss a business proposal. According to Lugovoi, who had come to London to watch a football match between Arsenal and CSKA Moscow, Litvinenko now wanted to discuss the progress of that venture. Also at the meeting were two other people unknown to Litvinenko: [[Dmitry Kovtun]], a business partner of Lugovoi, and another partner named [[Vyacheslav Sokolenko]]. Litvinenko's friends insist that he drank tea during the meeting.<ref>[http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/who-killed-litvinenko-425690.html "Who Killed Litvinenko?"], by [[Cahal Milmo]], ''[[The Independent]]'', 25 November 2006.</ref>
  
 
===Itsu restaurant meeting===
 
===Itsu restaurant meeting===
::By 3pm, Mr Litvinenko had moved from Mayfair to the elegant façades of Piccadilly, where he met [[Mario Scaramella]], another long-standing contact who had called him out of the blue saying he wanted to bring forward a meeting planned for 10 November to discuss important documents. The Italian examining magistrate who, among his many job descriptions, includes the titles of environmental campaigner and law professor, told Mr Litvinenko that he had received a death threat aimed at both of them. They met for 35 minutes in the basement of a branch of Itsu, a sushi restaurant chain. Mr Scaramella said last week that, while he himself drank only water, Mr Litvinenko bought food and drink from a chiller cabinet.<ref>[http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/who-killed-litvinenko-425690.html Who Killed Litvinenko?], by [[Cahal Milmo]], [[The Independent]], 25 November 2006.</ref>
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At around 3pm, Mr Litvinenko met [[Mario Scaramella]], another long-standing contact, who had called him out of the blue saying he wanted to bring forward a meeting planned for 10 November to discuss important documents. Scaramella told Mr Litvinenko that he had received a death threat aimed at both of them. They met for 35 minutes in the basement of a branch of Itsu, a sushi restaurant chain. After the meeting, Litvinenko went to Boris Berezovsky's office. According to his wife Marina, when he returned home, he felt ill.<ref>[http://www2.nysun.com/article/73212?page_no=1 The Specter That Haunts the Death of Litvinenko], [[Edward Jay Epstein]], ''New York Sun'', 18 March 2008.</ref>
  
===Erinys connection===
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===Final Days===
Ex-[[KGB]] officer [[Alexander Litvinenko]] visited [[Erinys]]' offices in London shortly before his death from polonium poisoning.
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After three days of sickness and stomach pains, Alexander Litvinenko was admitted to Barnet General Hospital, north London on 4 November.<ref>[http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6179074.stm "Timeline: Litvinenko death case"], BBC News, 27 July 2007.</ref> It was initially suspected that he had been poisoned with thallium.
  
::Litvinenko then proceeded to the Millennium Hotel, where he had an appointment to see [[Andrei Lugovoi]], who had also served in the FSB up until 1999 and who now owned a private security firm in Moscow. He had been meeting with Mr. Lugovoi on his trips to London for several months, and two weeks earlier had brought him to [[Erinys International]], one of the security companies in Mr. [[Boris Berezovsky|Berezovsky]]'s building, to discuss a business proposal. According to Mr. Lugovoi, Litvinenko now wanted to discuss the progress of that venture, and so met him and his business associate [[Dmitry Kovtun]] in the crowded Pine Bar for tea. After leaving the Pine Bar, Litvinenko went to Mr. Berezovsky's office. When he returned home, according to his wife Marina, he felt ill. Two days later, he was admitted to Barnet General Hospital.<ref>[http://www2.nysun.com/article/73212?page_no=1 The Specter That Haunts the Death of Litvinenko], [[Edward Jay Epstein]], [[New York Sun]], 18 March 2008.</ref>
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The main, if not only, source for the "revenge-murder scenario" were people funded by Boris Berezovsky. A web site in France, which had received financing from Berezovsky's foundation, circulated a report that there was a Russian "hit list" that had Litvinenko's name on it. Even though the "hit list" itself never materialised, it helped link the death of Litvinenko in the public mind with that of [[Anna Politkovskaya]], the crusading journalist who had been murdered a month earlier, in October 2006, and whose name was also on the putative hit list. Meanwhile, a Chechen website, also supported by Berezovsky's foundation, ran stories such as "FSB Attempted to Murder Russian Defector in London."
  
===Final Days===
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At the hospital, Berezovsky's PR consultant, Lord [[Tim Bell]], began briefing journalists, arranging interviews and supplying photographs of an emaciated, hairless Litvinenko.<ref>[http://www2.nysun.com/article/73212?page_no=2 "The Specter That Haunts the Death of Litvinenko"], by [[Edward Jay Epstein]], The New York Sun, 19 March 2008.</ref>
After three days of sickness and stomach pains Mr Litvinenko was admitted to Barnet General Hospital, north London on 4 November.<ref>[http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6179074.stm Timeline: Litvinenko death case], BBC News, 27 July 2007.</ref>
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It was initially suspected that he had been poisoned with thallium.
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On 17 November 2006, he was transferred to University College Hospital under armed guard as his condition worsened.<ref>[http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6179074.stm "Timeline: Litvinenko death case"], BBC News, 27 July 2007.</ref>
::The main, if not only, source for the revenge-murder scenario were people funded by Mr. Berezovsky. A Web site in France, which had received financing from Mr. Berezovsky's foundation, circulated a report that there was a Russian "hit list" that had Litvinenko's name on it. Even though the "hit list" itself never materialized, it helped link the death of Litvinenko in the public mind with that of [[Anna Politkovskaya]], the crusading journalist who had been murdered a month earlier, in October 2006, and whose name was also on the putative hit list. Meanwhile, a Chechen website, also supported by Mr. Berezovsky's foundation, ran stories such as "FSB Attempted to Murder Russian Defector in London."
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::At the hospital, Mr. Berezovsky's PR consultant, Lord [[Tim Bell]], began briefing journalists, arranging interviews, and supplying photographs of an emaciated, hairless Litvinenko.<ref>[http://www2.nysun.com/article/73212?page_no=2 The Specter That Haunts the Death of Litvinenko], by [[Edward Jay Epstein]], The New York Sun, 19 March 2008.</ref>
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According to [[Edward Jay Epstein]]'s account, doctors realised that Litvinenko was suffering from polonium poisoning only a few hours before his death on 23 November 2006. A a press conference that day, Berezovsky associate [[Alex Goldfarb]] read out a statement that he said had been dictated to him by Litvinenko, which accused Russian President [[Vladimir Putin]] of responsibility for his murder.<ref>[http://www2.nysun.com/article/73212?page_no=2 "The Specter That Haunts the Death of Litvinenko"], by [[Edward Jay Epstein]], ''The New York Sun'', 19 March 2008.</ref>
On 17 November he was transferred to University College Hospital under armed guard as his condition worsened.<ref>[http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6179074.stm Timeline: Litvinenko death case], BBC News, 27 July 2007.</ref>
 
According to [[Edward Jay Epstein]]'s account, doctors realised that Litvinenko was suffering from polonium poisoning only a few hours before his death on 23 November 2006. A a press conference that day, Berezovsky associate [[Alex Goldfarb]] read out a statement that he said had been dictated to him by Litvinenko, which accused Russian President [[Vladimir Putin]] of responsibility for his murder.<ref>[http://www2.nysun.com/article/73212?page_no=2 The Specter That Haunts the Death of Litvinenko], by [[Edward Jay Epstein]], The New York Sun, 19 March 2008.</ref>
 
  
 
===Investigation===
 
===Investigation===
The [[Health Protection Agency]] confirmed on 24 November that Litvinenko had been poisoned by Polonium 210.<ref>[http://www.camr.org.uk/webw/HPAweb&HPAwebStandard/HPAweb_C/1195733719081?p=1158945066097 Mr Alexander Litvinenko- Health Protection Agency Statement], 24 November 2006.</ref> The next day the HPA announced that Polonium-210 had been found in "a small number of areas at the Itsu sushi restaurant at 167 Piccadilly, London, and in some areas of the Millennium Hotel, Grosvenor Square, London , and at Mr Litvinenko's home in Muswell Hill."<ref>[http://www.camr.org.uk/webw/HPAweb&HPAwebStandard/HPAweb_C/1195733723361?p=1158945066097 Update Statement on the Public Health Issues related to Polonium-210], 25 November 2006.</ref> On 28 November the HPA said it was "also aware of the two new addresses where Police confirmed last night that traces of Polonium-210 had been found - 7 Down Street and 25 Grosvenor Street.<ref>[http://www.camr.org.uk/webw/HPAweb&HPAwebStandard/HPAweb_C/1195733708873?p=1158945066097 Update on public health issues related to the Polonium-210 incident], 28 November 2006.</ref> On the 29th, the HPA confirmed that traces had been found at 58 Grosvenor Street. <ref>[http://www.camr.org.uk/webw/HPAweb&HPAwebStandard/HPAweb_C/1195733706833?p=1158945066097 Update on public health issues related to the Polonium-210 incident], 29 November 2006.</ref>.
+
The [[Health Protection Agency]] confirmed on 24 November 2006 that Litvinenko had been poisoned by Polonium-210.<ref>[http://www.camr.org.uk/webw/HPAweb&HPAwebStandard/HPAweb_C/1195733719081?p=1158945066097 Mr Alexander Litvinenko- Health Protection Agency Statement], 24 November 2006.</ref> The next day the HPA announced that Polonium-210 had been found in "a small number of areas at the Itsu sushi restaurant at 167 Piccadilly, London, and in some areas of the Millennium Hotel, Grosvenor Square in London and at Mr Litvinenko's home in Muswell Hill."<ref name=HPA>[http://www.camr.org.uk/webw/HPAweb&HPAwebStandard/HPAweb_C/1195733723361?p=1158945066097 "Update Statement on the Public Health Issues related to Polonium-210"], 25 November 2006.</ref> On 28 November the HPA said it was "also aware of the two new addresses where Police confirmed last night that traces of Polonium-210 had been found - 7 Down Street and 25 Grosvenor Street.<ref name=HPA/> On 29 November, the HPA confirmed that traces had been found at 58 Grosvenor Street.<ref name=HPA/>
  
On 6 December, the HPA announced that localised contamination had been found at Parkes Hotel.<ref>[http://www.camr.org.uk/webw/HPAweb&HPAwebStandard/HPAweb_C/1195733723209?p=1158945066097 Update on public health issues related to Polonium-210 investigation], 6 December 2006.</ref>On the 8th, it said that traces of contamination had been found at 1 Cavendish Place.<ref>[http://www.camr.org.uk/webw/HPAweb&HPAwebStandard/HPAweb_C/1195733724533?p=1158945066097 Update on public health issues related to Polonium-210 investigation], 8 December 2006.</ref>
+
On 6 December, the HPA announced that localised contamination had been found at Parkes Hotel in Knightsbridge.<ref name=HPA/> On 8 December, it said that traces of contamination had been found at 1 Cavendish Place.<ref name=HPA/>
  
On 1 December, the HPA said that a second person "who was in direct and very close contact with Mr Litvinenko has a significant quantity of the radioactive isotope Polonium-210 (Po-210) in their body."<ref>[http://www.camr.org.uk/webw/HPAweb&HPAwebStandard/HPAweb_C/1195733717029?p=1158945066097 Update on public health issues related to Polonium-210 investigation], 1 December 2006.</ref> This was [[Mario Scaramella]], but on the 9th, the HPA said that further tests showed only "very low levels of Po-210 in his body."<ref>[http://www.camr.org.uk/webw/HPAweb&HPAwebStandard/HPAweb_C/1195733713316?p=1158945066097 Update on public health issues related to Polonium-210 investigation], 9 December 2006.</ref>
+
On 1 December, the HPA said that a second person "who was in direct and very close contact with Mr Litvinenko has a significant quantity of the radioactive isotope Polonium-210 (Po-210) in their body."<ref name=HPA/> This was [[Mario Scaramella]], but on 9 December, the HPA said that further tests showed only "very low levels of Po-210 in his body."<ref name=HPA/>
  
 
In November 2007, [[Edward Jay Epstein]] visited Moscow and was shown the British files by Russian investigators.
 
In November 2007, [[Edward Jay Epstein]] visited Moscow and was shown the British files by Russian investigators.
::What immediately caught my attention was that it did not include the basic documents in any murder case, such as the postmortem autopsy report, which would help establish how — and why — Litvinenko died. In lieu of it, Detective Inspector [[Robert Lock]] of the [[Metropolitan Police|Metropolitan Police Service]] at the New Scotland Yard wrote that he was "familiar with the autopsy results" and that Litvinenko had died of "Acute Radiation Syndrome."
+
:"What immediately caught my attention was that it did not include the basic documents in any murder case, such as the postmortem autopsy report, which would help establish how — and why — Litvinenko died. In lieu of it, Detective Inspector [[Robert Lock]] of the [[Metropolitan Police|Metropolitan Police Service]] at New Scotland Yard wrote that he was 'familiar with the autopsy results' and that Litvinenko had died of 'Acute Radiation Syndrome'. Like Sherlock Holmes's clue of the dog that didn't bark, this omission was illuminating in itself."<ref>[http://www2.nysun.com/article/73212?page_no=2 "The Specter That Haunts the Death of Litvinenko"], by [[Edward Jay Epstein]], ''The New York Sun'', 19 March 2008.</ref>
  
::Like Sherlock Holmes's clue of the dog that didn't bark, this omission was illuminating in itself.<ref>[http://www2.nysun.com/article/73212?page_no=2 The Specter That Haunts the Death of Litvinenko], by [[Edward Jay Epstein]], The New York Sun, 19 March 2008.</ref>
+
==''Public'' Inquiry==
 +
On 21 January 2016, a long-awaited UK report into his death <ref>[https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/files/Litvinenko-Inquiry-Report-web-version.pdf "The Litninenko Inquiry report - pdf"]</ref> concluded that two Russians - [[Andrei Lugovoi]] and [[Dmitry Kovtun]] - poisoned 44-year-old Litvinenko in London in 2006 by putting the radioactive substance Polonium-210 into his drink. The original inquest into the death became stalled over the refusal of the UK government to allow evidence from [[MI5]] and [[MI6]] to be presented. Some eight years later, on 24 July 2014, the inquest was turned into a so-called ''Public'' Inquiry in which much of its evidence was then heard in private. The Inquiry announcement was made in the immediate aftermath of the shooting down of a civilian airliner, [[Malaysia Airlines Flight 17]], over Eastern Ukraine and whilst [[Vladimir Putin|President Putin]] was being vilified by western politicians and {{ccm}} in the most extraordinary and sustained manner, as the ''"obvious"'' perpetrator. This led to understandable accusations from Russia that the Inquiry had more to do with demonising President Putin and Russia than with genuine concern for justice in the Litvinenko murder case. The Russian Investigative Committee into the death then refused to take part on the grounds that it was neither public nor free from political motivation. In a Kafkaesque move that effectively denied the chief suspects opportunity to provide evidence in their own defence, the UK Inquiry declined to hear video-link evidence from them and eventually held them to be jointly responsible for the death.<ref>[http://sputniknews.com/europe/20160121/1033442767/litvinenko-public-inquiry-findings.html "UK Report Claims Putin to Blame for Litvinenko Death"] - Sputnik International, 21 January 2016</ref>  
  
===Public Inquiry===
+
Inquiry chairman Sir [[Robert Owen]] said he was ''"sure"'' Litvinenko's murder had been carried out by the two men and that they were ''"probably"'' acting under the direction of Moscow's FSB intelligence service, and approved by the FSB's [[Nikolai Patrushev]] and President Putin. He said Mr Litvinenko's work for [[MI5]] and [[MI6]], his criticism of the FSB and Mr Putin, and his association with other Russian dissidents were possible motives for his killing. There was also "undoubtedly a personal dimension to the antagonism" between Mr Putin and Mr Litvinenko.
On 21 January 2016, a long-awaited report into the death of ex-Russian spy [[Alexander Litvinenko]] <ref>[https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/files/Litvinenko-Inquiry-Report-web-version.pdf The Litninenko Inquiry report - pdf]</ref> found two Russian men - [[Andrei Lugovoi]] and [[Dmitry Kovtun]] - deliberately poisoned 44-year-old Litvinenko in London in 2006 by putting the radioactive substance polonium-210 into his drink. The original inquest into the death became stalled over the refusal of the government to allow evidence from [[MI5]] and [[MI6]] to be presented. 8 years later, on 24 July 2014, the inquest was turned into a so-called "''Public'' Inquiry" in which much of its evidence was then heard in private. The timimg of the announcement to set up the Inquiry coincided with the aftermath of the shooting down of a civilian airliner [[Flight MH17]] over Eastern Ukraine in which President Putin was vilified in the most extraordinary manner by a united Western {{CCM}} as the perpetrator. This lead to understandable accusations from Russia that the Inquiry had more to do with demonising President Putin than with genuine concern for justice in the Litvinenko murder case. The Russian Investigative Committee into the death refused to take part on the grounds that it was neither public not free from political motivation. The Inquiry declined to take video-link evidence from either of the men it evenually concluded were responsible for the death. <ref>[http://sputniknews.com/europe/20160121/1033442767/litvinenko-public-inquiry-findings.html UK Report Claims Putin to Blame for Litvinenko Death] - Sputnik International 21 January 2016</ref> 
 
 
 
Inquiry chairman Sir Robert Owen said he was "sure" Litvinenko's murder had been carried out by the two men and that they were probably acting under the direction of Moscow's FSB intelligence service, and approved by the FSB's [[Nikolai Patrushev]] and President Putin.
 
He said Mr Litvinenko's work for [[MI5]] and [[MI6]], his criticism of the FSB and Mr Putin, and his association with other Russian dissidents were possible motives for his killing. There was also "undoubtedly a personal dimension to the antagonism" between Mr Putin and Mr Litvinenko.
 
  
 
Home Secretary [[Theresa May]] told the House of Commons that the murder was a "blatant and unacceptable" breach of international law, and said Prime Minister [[David Cameron]] would raise the findings with President Putin at "the next available opportunity". A Downing Street spokeswoman said the report's conclusions were "extremely disturbing", saying: "It is not the way for any state, let alone a permanent member of the [[UN Security Council]], to behave."
 
Home Secretary [[Theresa May]] told the House of Commons that the murder was a "blatant and unacceptable" breach of international law, and said Prime Minister [[David Cameron]] would raise the findings with President Putin at "the next available opportunity". A Downing Street spokeswoman said the report's conclusions were "extremely disturbing", saying: "It is not the way for any state, let alone a permanent member of the [[UN Security Council]], to behave."
Line 105: Line 116:
 
{{QB|"The results of the investigation made public today yet again confirm London's anti-Russian position, its blinkeredness and the unwillingness of the English to establish the true reason of Litvinenko's death."}}
 
{{QB|"The results of the investigation made public today yet again confirm London's anti-Russian position, its blinkeredness and the unwillingness of the English to establish the true reason of Litvinenko's death."}}
 
Dmitry Kovtun said he would not comment on the report until he got more information about its contents.<ref>[http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35370819 "President Putin 'probably' approved Litvinenko murder"]</ref>
 
Dmitry Kovtun said he would not comment on the report until he got more information about its contents.<ref>[http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35370819 "President Putin 'probably' approved Litvinenko murder"]</ref>
 
+
{{SMWDocs}}
 
==Affiliations==
 
==Affiliations==
 
*[[Federalnaya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti]]
 
*[[Federalnaya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti]]

Latest revision as of 15:30, 3 January 2019

Person.png Alexander Litvinenko   History Commons Powerbase SourcewatchRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(spook, whistleblower, Russian apartment bombings/Premature death)
Alexander Litvinenko.jpg
BornAleksandr Valterovich Litvinenko
30 August 1962
Voronezh, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Died23 November 2006 (Age 44)
London, United Kingdom
Cause of death
poisoning
NationalityUnited Kingdom, Soviet Union, Russian Federation
Children • Alexander
• Sonia
• Anatoly
SpouseNataliya
ExposedRussian apartment bombings
Victim ofassassination
Interest ofWilliam Dunkerley
An exiled Russian spook turned whistleblower who died of Polonium poisoning in London.

Alexander Valterovich Litvinenko was a former officer of the Russian FSB secret service, who specialised in tackling organised crime.[1] In November 1998, Litvinenko and several other FSB officers publicly accused their superiors of ordering the assassination of the Russian tycoon and oligarch Boris Berezovsky. Litvinenko was arrested the following March on charges of exceeding the authority of his position. He was acquitted in November 1999 but re-arrested before the charges were again dismissed in 2000. He fled with his family to London and was granted political asylum in the United Kingdom, where he worked as a journalist, writer and "consultant" for both MI5 and MI6

Background

Litvinenko was born in Voronezh, south-west Russia. After school he joined the army and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. Then, in the dying days of the Soviet Union in 1988, he entered the counter-intelligence department of the KGB. In 1991, once the KGB's directorates had split up, he worked for the federal security service (FSB), fighting "terrorism" and organised crime, sometimes operating in Chechnya. In 1997 he moved to one of the most secret divisions of the service, a unit called URPO investigating "organised criminal formations".[2]

Allegations about Berezovsky and the Russian apartment bombings

Alexander Litvinenko had been tasked to counter attempts by the Russian mafia to infiltrate the security services, but came to realise he was not succeeding. In November 1998, Litvinenko staged a press conference in Moscow, in which he accused the FSB – then headed by Vladimir Putin – of ordering him to assassinate Boris Berezovsky, fuelling a firestorm in the Russian parliament. Within days Litvinenko was under investigation and within weeks found himself in prison. His allies contrived his release in December 1999 and by the summer of 2000 they were urging him to flee or face a lifetime in a political gulag.

Boris Berezovsky had already installed himself in London and was busy sponsoring every enemy of Putin who crossed his path. He owed a debt of gratitude to Litvinenko and, in November 2000, Berezovsky arranged for him, Marina and their son, Anatoly, to escape from Russia, sending biochemist Alex Goldfarb, a Russian émigré and pro-democracy campaigner, to escort the family to London.

Alexander Litvinenko assumed he would be feted in the west. He looked to the experiences of other leading exiles, including Oleg Gordievsky, the far more senior former KGB London station chief and an old friend, who had been embraced by the British authorities when he defected in 1985. In London, Litvinenko continued his onslaught with a book, The FSB Blows Up Russia, in which he accused his former employers of the 1999 Russian apartment bombings which killed about 300 people and was exploited as a casus belli for the attacks on Chechen rebels.[3]

Global Drug Trade

"Litvinenko was working for the KGB in St Petersburg in 2001 and 2002. He became concerned at the vast amounts of heroin coming from Afghanistan, in particular from the fiefdom of the (now) head of the Afghan armed forces, General Abdul Rashid Dostum, in north and east Afghanistan."
Craig Murray

Mitrokhin Commission

In December 2003, Litvinenko was approached by Mario Scaramella to take part in the Mitrokhin Commission that had been formed two years earlier by prime minister Silvio Berlusconi ostensibly to discover if senior figures in the Italian establishment had been in the pay of the KGB - in reality a vehicle for smearing Berlusconi's socialist enemies.

The Commission was a meal ticket and would enable him to see more of his brother, Maxim, who had fled Russia before him and was living in Senigallia, a small Italian port on the Adriatic coast. Litvinenko's only concern was about the value of the information he had to bring to the table. In the FSB, he'd had no connection with the foreign wing and no knowledge of its network of recruits in abroad, the people who were to be the focus of the commission.

To back him up, he took along a new contact he had made through the Berezovsky circle, Evgeni Limarev, also a Russian exile, who lived in France and was the son of a high-ranking KGB officer.[4]

Targets of the Mitrokhin Commission included former Italian Prime Ministers Romano Prodi and Massimo D'Alema, Green Party leader Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio, other senior politicians, intelligence officials and judges, as well as journalists from La Repubblica.

Romano Prodi

Litvinenko had no compunction in recalling a piece of gossip he had been told by a former KGB deputy director as he fled Russia. In 2000, General Anatoly Trofimov had warned Litvinenko not to go to Rome since "Prodi is our man in Italy". He was referring to Romano Prodi, the former Italian prime minister who went on to become president of the European Commission.

Now Litvinenko regurgitated the unfounded claim to Scaramella who persuaded him to write it down.[4]

On 29 March 2006, Litvinenko met UKIP MEP Gerard Batten at the Itsu restaurant in London. Four days later, with an Italian general election imminent, Batten called for an Inquiry into Prodi in the European Parliament. Prodi responded by threatening to sue Litvinenko and Scaramella. In the resulting controversy, Silvio Berlusconi was forced to wind up the Mitrokhin Commission, and Prodi won the election.[4]

The Imam Rapito Affair

Litvinenko, Limarev and Scaramella met in Italy with Robert Seldon Lady, a CIA agent posted as a political officer to the US consulate in Milan. Lady was allegedly involved in the so-called Imam Rapito affair, the kidnapping of Egyptian cleric Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr. The Mitrokhin Commission investigated allegations that the prosecutor in the case, Armando Spataro, had secret links to the KGB.[4]

Semion Mogilevich

Litvinenko and Scaramella clamed that Semion Mogilevich, a Ukrainian organised crime boss, had extensive links to the Putin government in Russia.[4]

Alexander Talik

In October 2005, Litvinenko accused Ukrainian Alexander Talik of being an FSB agent in Italy with links to Mogilevich. Talik claimed he had been framed after refusing to provide information to Scaramella.

In the same month, Litvinenko and Scaramella gave Italian police details of a plot to Kill Litvinenko's borther Maxim. In November Litvinenko released the story in the Ukrainian press. By now the Italian police had begun tapping the phones of Litvinenko, Scaramella and Talik.[5]

Andrei Lugovoi

In January 2006, Litvinenko attended Boris Berezovsky's birthday party at Blenheim Palace. He was seated with Andrei Lugovoi, who, according to The Guardian was a former KGB and FSB colleague of Alexander Talik. Litvinenko reportedly told Alex Goldfarb that he had agreed to become Lugovoi's man in London.[4]

Limarev claims

In October 2006, Evgeni Limarev sent Scaramella a series of emails claiming that the Russians were out to kill everyone connected with the Mitrokhin Commission. These emails were reportedly the subject of Scaramella's final meeting with Litvinenko.[4]

Polonium poisoning

Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned with the radioactive substance Polonium-210 at some time on or around 1 November 2006.

Millennium Hotel meeting

Persuasive evidence that Sir Robert Owen's conclusions about those responsible for the death of Litvinenko are dead wrong

At about 10am on 1 November 2006, Litvinenko met with Andrei Lugovoi who had also served in the FSB until 1999, and who then owned a private security firm in Moscow, in the Pine bar of the Millennium Hotel in Mayfair (close to the US embassy). He had been meeting Lugovoi on his trips to London for several months, and two weeks earlier had brought him to Erinys International, one of the security companies in Berezovsky's building, to discuss a business proposal. According to Lugovoi, who had come to London to watch a football match between Arsenal and CSKA Moscow, Litvinenko now wanted to discuss the progress of that venture. Also at the meeting were two other people unknown to Litvinenko: Dmitry Kovtun, a business partner of Lugovoi, and another partner named Vyacheslav Sokolenko. Litvinenko's friends insist that he drank tea during the meeting.[6]

Itsu restaurant meeting

At around 3pm, Mr Litvinenko met Mario Scaramella, another long-standing contact, who had called him out of the blue saying he wanted to bring forward a meeting planned for 10 November to discuss important documents. Scaramella told Mr Litvinenko that he had received a death threat aimed at both of them. They met for 35 minutes in the basement of a branch of Itsu, a sushi restaurant chain. After the meeting, Litvinenko went to Boris Berezovsky's office. According to his wife Marina, when he returned home, he felt ill.[7]

Final Days

After three days of sickness and stomach pains, Alexander Litvinenko was admitted to Barnet General Hospital, north London on 4 November.[8] It was initially suspected that he had been poisoned with thallium.

The main, if not only, source for the "revenge-murder scenario" were people funded by Boris Berezovsky. A web site in France, which had received financing from Berezovsky's foundation, circulated a report that there was a Russian "hit list" that had Litvinenko's name on it. Even though the "hit list" itself never materialised, it helped link the death of Litvinenko in the public mind with that of Anna Politkovskaya, the crusading journalist who had been murdered a month earlier, in October 2006, and whose name was also on the putative hit list. Meanwhile, a Chechen website, also supported by Berezovsky's foundation, ran stories such as "FSB Attempted to Murder Russian Defector in London."

At the hospital, Berezovsky's PR consultant, Lord Tim Bell, began briefing journalists, arranging interviews and supplying photographs of an emaciated, hairless Litvinenko.[9]

On 17 November 2006, he was transferred to University College Hospital under armed guard as his condition worsened.[10]

According to Edward Jay Epstein's account, doctors realised that Litvinenko was suffering from polonium poisoning only a few hours before his death on 23 November 2006. A a press conference that day, Berezovsky associate Alex Goldfarb read out a statement that he said had been dictated to him by Litvinenko, which accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of responsibility for his murder.[11]

Investigation

The Health Protection Agency confirmed on 24 November 2006 that Litvinenko had been poisoned by Polonium-210.[12] The next day the HPA announced that Polonium-210 had been found in "a small number of areas at the Itsu sushi restaurant at 167 Piccadilly, London, and in some areas of the Millennium Hotel, Grosvenor Square in London and at Mr Litvinenko's home in Muswell Hill."[13] On 28 November the HPA said it was "also aware of the two new addresses where Police confirmed last night that traces of Polonium-210 had been found - 7 Down Street and 25 Grosvenor Street.[13] On 29 November, the HPA confirmed that traces had been found at 58 Grosvenor Street.[13]

On 6 December, the HPA announced that localised contamination had been found at Parkes Hotel in Knightsbridge.[13] On 8 December, it said that traces of contamination had been found at 1 Cavendish Place.[13]

On 1 December, the HPA said that a second person "who was in direct and very close contact with Mr Litvinenko has a significant quantity of the radioactive isotope Polonium-210 (Po-210) in their body."[13] This was Mario Scaramella, but on 9 December, the HPA said that further tests showed only "very low levels of Po-210 in his body."[13]

In November 2007, Edward Jay Epstein visited Moscow and was shown the British files by Russian investigators.

"What immediately caught my attention was that it did not include the basic documents in any murder case, such as the postmortem autopsy report, which would help establish how — and why — Litvinenko died. In lieu of it, Detective Inspector Robert Lock of the Metropolitan Police Service at New Scotland Yard wrote that he was 'familiar with the autopsy results' and that Litvinenko had died of 'Acute Radiation Syndrome'. Like Sherlock Holmes's clue of the dog that didn't bark, this omission was illuminating in itself."[14]

Public Inquiry

On 21 January 2016, a long-awaited UK report into his death [15] concluded that two Russians - Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun - poisoned 44-year-old Litvinenko in London in 2006 by putting the radioactive substance Polonium-210 into his drink. The original inquest into the death became stalled over the refusal of the UK government to allow evidence from MI5 and MI6 to be presented. Some eight years later, on 24 July 2014, the inquest was turned into a so-called Public Inquiry in which much of its evidence was then heard in private. The Inquiry announcement was made in the immediate aftermath of the shooting down of a civilian airliner, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, over Eastern Ukraine and whilst President Putin was being vilified by western politicians and commercially-controlled media in the most extraordinary and sustained manner, as the "obvious" perpetrator. This led to understandable accusations from Russia that the Inquiry had more to do with demonising President Putin and Russia than with genuine concern for justice in the Litvinenko murder case. The Russian Investigative Committee into the death then refused to take part on the grounds that it was neither public nor free from political motivation. In a Kafkaesque move that effectively denied the chief suspects opportunity to provide evidence in their own defence, the UK Inquiry declined to hear video-link evidence from them and eventually held them to be jointly responsible for the death.[16]

Inquiry chairman Sir Robert Owen said he was "sure" Litvinenko's murder had been carried out by the two men and that they were "probably" acting under the direction of Moscow's FSB intelligence service, and approved by the FSB's Nikolai Patrushev and President Putin. He said Mr Litvinenko's work for MI5 and MI6, his criticism of the FSB and Mr Putin, and his association with other Russian dissidents were possible motives for his killing. There was also "undoubtedly a personal dimension to the antagonism" between Mr Putin and Mr Litvinenko.

Home Secretary Theresa May told the House of Commons that the murder was a "blatant and unacceptable" breach of international law, and said Prime Minister David Cameron would raise the findings with President Putin at "the next available opportunity". A Downing Street spokeswoman said the report's conclusions were "extremely disturbing", saying: "It is not the way for any state, let alone a permanent member of the UN Security Council, to behave."

Responding to the report, Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom Alexander Yakovenko said:

"For us it is absolutely unacceptable that the report concludes that the Russian state was in any way involved in the death of Mr Litvinenko on British soil," [17]

Andrei Lugovoi, who is now a politician in Russia, said:

"The results of the investigation made public today yet again confirm London's anti-Russian position, its blinkeredness and the unwillingness of the English to establish the true reason of Litvinenko's death."

Dmitry Kovtun said he would not comment on the report until he got more information about its contents.[18]

 

Related Documents

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:A US-UK Plot to Discredit Putin and Destabilize the Russian Federationarticle27 March 2016William DunkerleyInformation about an interview between Swiss businessman Pascal Najadi and retired French security services officer Paul Barril, in which Barril claims that the murder of Alexander Litvinenko was commissioned by the US-UK intelligence nexus as part of "Operation Beluga" aimed at destabilising Russia and discrediting Vladimir Putin
Document:Drool Britanniaarticle22 January 2016Mark NesopCommentary on the Owen Inquiry Report into the death of Alexander Litvinenko


Affiliations

Connections

References

  1. Litvinenko death: Russian spy 'was working for MI6' – BBC News, 13 December 2012
  2. Obituary: Alexander Litvinenko, by Tom Parfitt, The Guardian, 25 November 2006.
  3. Who Killed Litvinenko?, by Cahal Milmo, The Independent, 25 November 2006.
  4. a b c d e f g Why a spy was killed, by Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy, The Guardian, 26 January 2008.
  5. Why a spy was killed, by Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy, The Guardian, 26 January 2008.
  6. "Who Killed Litvinenko?", by Cahal Milmo, The Independent, 25 November 2006.
  7. The Specter That Haunts the Death of Litvinenko, Edward Jay Epstein, New York Sun, 18 March 2008.
  8. "Timeline: Litvinenko death case", BBC News, 27 July 2007.
  9. "The Specter That Haunts the Death of Litvinenko", by Edward Jay Epstein, The New York Sun, 19 March 2008.
  10. "Timeline: Litvinenko death case", BBC News, 27 July 2007.
  11. "The Specter That Haunts the Death of Litvinenko", by Edward Jay Epstein, The New York Sun, 19 March 2008.
  12. Mr Alexander Litvinenko- Health Protection Agency Statement, 24 November 2006.
  13. a b c d e f g "Update Statement on the Public Health Issues related to Polonium-210", 25 November 2006.
  14. "The Specter That Haunts the Death of Litvinenko", by Edward Jay Epstein, The New York Sun, 19 March 2008.
  15. "The Litninenko Inquiry report - pdf"
  16. "UK Report Claims Putin to Blame for Litvinenko Death" - Sputnik International, 21 January 2016
  17. Claims of Russia 'in Any Way' Involved in Litvinenko Death 'Unacceptable' - Sputnik International 21 January 2016
  18. "President Putin 'probably' approved Litvinenko murder"