[QODLink]
Europe
Russia launches spy investigation
Case opened after statement given by suspect in killing of Alexander Litvinenko.
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2007 08:44 GMT
Lugovoi has repeatedly denied involvement
in Litvinenko's killing [AP]
Russia's internal security agency has launched an espionage investigation on the basis of statements by chief suspect in the radioation poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian spy.

The Federal Security Service (FSB) opened the case after assessing evidence from Andrei Lugovoi, Russian news agencies said on Friday.
"After analysis of statements by Russian businessman Andrei Lugovoi, the investigative department of the FSB … has opened a criminal case due to evidence of espionage," an FSB statement said.

British prosecutors have asked Russia to hand over Lugovoi to face charges over the death of Litvinenko.

Litvinenko, a former FSB agent, died in London last year after being poisoned with polonium-210, a highly radioactive isotope.

 

Investigation 'material'

 

The FSB statement did not state that the investigation related to the death of Litvinenko, and did not name any suspects.

 

However, it appeared to refer to "material" that Lugovoi said at a news conference last month he will soon present to Russian security services.

 

Russia has repeatedly refused to hand over Lugovoi to Britain.

 

Lugovoi denies involvement in the killing and alleges that it was carried out either by Britain's MI6 intelligence agency, the Russian mafia, or Boris Berezovsky, a former Russian agent who is now an exiled opponent of the Kremlin.

 

He has suggested that Berezovsky and Litvinenko were working for MI6.

 

"It is hard to escape the thought that Litvinenko had become an agent who had escaped the control of the special services and they took him out," Lugovoi said in May.

 

British suspicion fell on Lugovoi and an associate, Dmitry Kovtun, after it emerged that both met Litvinenko in a London hotel on November 1, the day he fell ill.

 

The men left traces of the radioactive isotope used in Litvinenko's killing in various locations as they returned to Russia.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
The world's newest professional sport comes from an unlikely source: video games.
The group's takeover of farms in Qaraqosh, 30km from Mosul, has caused fear among residents, and a jump in food prices.
Protests and online activism in recent months have brought a resurgence of ethnic Oromo nationalism in Ethiopia.
Chemotherapy is big business, but some US doctors say it could be overused and are pushing for cheaper and better care.
Amid vote audit and horse-trading, politicians of all hues agree a compromise is needed to avoid political instability.
join our mailing list