Interpol joins Litvinenko investigation

12th December 2006, Comments 0 comments

12 December 2006, Moscow (dpa) - Interpol has joined the hunt for the killers of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, the international law- enforcement organization's Russia chief said Tuesday. The case of the spy who died after ingesting radioactive polonium has left its mark on England, Germany and Russia so far, and Interpol plans to help arrange intergovernmental efforts to investigate the crime, Timur Lakhonin, head of Russia's Interpol, told reporters in Moscow. "The work (of Interpol) has alrea

12 December 2006

Moscow (dpa) - Interpol has joined the hunt for the killers of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, the international law- enforcement organization's Russia chief said Tuesday.

The case of the spy who died after ingesting radioactive polonium has left its mark on England, Germany and Russia so far, and Interpol plans to help arrange intergovernmental efforts to investigate the crime, Timur Lakhonin, head of Russia's Interpol, told reporters in Moscow.

"The work (of Interpol) has already begun, insofar as a number of countries have some relation to the investigation," Lakhonin said in remarks carried by the news agency Interfax.

The 186-nation organization facilitates international police cooperation, "even when diplomatic ties do not exist between particular countries," as its website mission statement says.

Litvinenko, a former Federal Security Service (FSB) agent, had received British citizenship after leaving Russia in 2000. He died November 23 after apparently being poisoned on November 1.

Traces of radiation have been found in at least a dozen places in London, on two British Airways jets and in an apartment in Hamburg.

Detectives from London's Scotland Yard are currently investigating the case in Moscow, and Russian authorities are said to be ready to send their own sleuths to London.

Russia opened its own criminal cases last week into both Litvinenko's murder and an assassination attempt on Dmitry Kovtun.

Russian businessmen Kovtun and Andrei Lugovoi met with Litvinenko November 1. Russian officials, in the presence of the Scotland Yard detectives, have questioned them both in a Moscow hospital where they are under observation for radiation poisoning.

The Hamburg apartment where radiation has been found belonged to Kovtun's mother-in-law, and he stayed there on his way to London at the end of October.

Litvinenko's friends have blamed Russia's intelligence services in the murder, while the Kremlin calls the accusations "absurd."

Russian officials have suggested the poisoning may have been an attempt to discredit Moscow and have thrown suspicion on prominent London-based dissidents Boris Berezovsky, a once-powerful oligarch, and Akhmed Zakayev, a spokesman for the rebel government in Russia's war-torn region of Chechnya.

Lakhonin, the Interpol chief, said Tuesday that Berezovsky and Zakayev, along with a number of other high-profile exiled businessmen wanted for various crimes, were still being sought.

"It's a principal question," Lakhonin said. "If we don't insist on the extradition of people (who committed a crime), what sense is there in any law-enforcement activity?"

DPA

Subject: German news

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