German police probe ex-KGB agent 'poisoning': report

11th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

German police are investigating the possible poisoning of a former colonel in the Russian KGB and his wife, both with high levels of mercury in their bodies, Focus magazine reported Saturday.

Police in Berlin are looking into a possible targeted attack on Viktor Kalashnikov and his wife, Marina, both now freelance journalists who have published articles that have angered the Kremlin.

Contacted by AFP, Berlin police refused to confirm or deny the report.

Doctors at Berlin's Charite hospital found 53.7 microgrammes of mercury per litre in the 58-year-old dissident's blood and 56 microgrammes in his wife's body, Focus said.

"The maximum safe level is between one and three microgrammes of mercury in a litre of blood," the magazine quoted Frank Mertens, a toxicologist at Charite, as saying in its edition to appear Monday.

In 2006, dissident Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko was murdered by radio-active poisoning in London, prompting an icy period in Moscow's diplomatic relations with Britain.

© 2010 AFP

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