Litvinenko suspect spoke of poisoning him, UK inquiry hears

24th July 2015, Comments 0 comments

A Russian businessman wanted over the death of ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko spoke of how he wanted the Kremlin critic to be killed with a "very expensive poison", an inquiry heard Friday.

Interviews between German police and a witness identified only as D3, a friend of Dmitry Kovtun, were read out at the London probe into Litvinenko's death.

Kovtun and a second Russian, Andrei Lugovoi, are wanted by British police for allegedly poisoning Litvinenko in a London hotel on November 1, 2006 using tea laced with polonium-210, a radioactive isotope.

Kovtun is due to give evidence to the inquiry via video link from Moscow from Monday after reversing a previous decision not to appear in March.

In several interviews from December 2006 onwards, D3 gave German police an account of a conversation he allegedly had with Kovtun in Hamburg on October 30, 2006 before Kovtun flew to London.

D3 said Kovtun had called Litvinenko a "traitor" who "does deals with Chechnya", adding: "There's blood on his hands".

"Then (he) asked me if I knew a cook who worked in London," the witness told German police.

"Dmitry said he had a very expensive poison and said he needed the cook to administer it to Litvinenko."

D3 gave Kovtun the name of C2, another witness who is not being identified by the inquiry, who he believed might be working as a cook in London.

He said Kovtun told him that poisoning Litvinenko "was meant to set an example".

D3, who got to know him while working at a restaurant in Hamburg, said he then told him to "stop this nonsense".

But the inquiry also heard that German authorities thought the information they had been given by D3 was "uncredible".

D3 failed to respond to requests to give evidence directly to the inquiry and could not be legally compelled to assist with investigations in Britain, the inquiry was told.


© 2015 AFP

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