Litvinenko thought Putin was linked to crime: widow

2nd February 2015, Comments 0 comments

The widow of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko told an inquiry into his radiation poisoning death in 2006 that her husband had suspected Vladimir Putin of being involved in "criminal conduct".

She also said Litvinenko met with Putin when the now Kremlin leader was head of the Russian secret service to expose an alleged plot he had discovered to kill the dissident oligarch Boris Berezovsky.

"Sasha (Alexander) said it was not a productive meeting at all and he didn't believe there will be any action," Marina Litvinenko said.

Berezovsky, 67, was found dead on the bathroom floor at his home in southern England in 2013 with a ligature around his neck.

A former KGB spy, Putin started out in post-Soviet politics as deputy mayor of Saint Petersburg in the early 1990s before going on to head up the FSB agency.

"On his position of deputy mayor of St Petersburg, Sasha believed (Putin) was involved in some criminal conduct," she said, without elaborating.

She also told the judge-led inquiry that Litvinenko had been working for Britain's MI6 foreign intelligence service at the time of his death, on a monthly retainer of £2,000 (2,600 euros, $3,000).

Marina said that her husband was not "employed" as an MI6 agent but did "consult" for both the British and Spanish intelligence services.

Asked by Robin Tam, the main lawyer in the inquiry, if he could have revealed the identities of Russian agents in Britain, she replied that she did not know.

The inquiry hearings began last week and are expected to last another two months, with a report due to be published by the end of the year.

The inquiry's chairman Robert Owen has already said he expects the hearings to reveal "prima facie evidence" of Russian state involvement.

Russia has rejected any role in Litvinenko's killing.


© 2015 AFP

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