Murdered Russian spy Litvinenko’s widow denies MI6 link

November 14th, 2007 - 2:58 am ICT by admin  
Marina Litvinenko has said that the allegation, from unnamed British diplomatic and intelligence sources, was sheer “nonsense”.

“My husband was never an agent for MI6. He was a critic of the Russian government but he spoke out openly. He was well-known. And his special area was organised crime, not intelligence. He was not the kind of person who would be useful to the British security services,” she said.

She said her husband was a consultant to businessmen wanting to trade with Russia. He also worked for the civil liberties foundation set up by the billionaire Russian exile Boris Berezovsky, who lives in Berkshire, she said.

Alex Goldfarb, a friend of Mr Litvinenko and co-author with his widow of a book on his murder, published in June, said Litvinenko was simply living in England and was not someone who could have been of use could not have been to the British security services.

“Putin’s regime believes that there is a British conspiracy against Russia and that Russian exiles in England are working for the security services. They are paranoid,” the Sunday Telegraph quoted Goldfarb, as saying.

British media reports, which has been given wide circulation in the Russian media, has suggested that Litvinenko was receiving a retainer of around 2,000 pounds a month from MI6 at the time he was murdered.

Sir John McLeod Scarlett, the incumbent chief of MI6, who served a stint in Moscow, apparently recruited Litvinenko to the Secret Intelligence Service.

Litvinenko has been a fierce critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and had defected to Britain in 2000. He was granted political asylum the following year with his wife Marina, 44, and son Anatoly, 12.

The former KGB officer was administered a lethal dose of radioactive polonium-210, slipped into his teapot the day he met prime suspect Andrei Lugovoy at the Millennium Hotel in Grosvenor Square, London on November 1, 2006.

Lugovoy, a businessman and a former KGB agent, has claimed that Litvinenko tried to recruit him to supply information to MI6.

He also alleged that his ex-colleague asked him to find candidates for political asylum in Britain.

Lugovoy left Britain for Russia soon after, and has never returned.

An exhaustive Scotland Yard investigation later, the Crown Prosecution Service called for Lugovoy’s extradition to stand trial for Litvinenko’s ‘deliberate poisoning’ at the Old Bailey earlier this year, but the Kremlin refused the request in July.

While Lugovoy has admitted meeting Litvinenko, a former lieutenant colonel in the FSB, the re-styled KGB, several times in the months before his death, he has said he was being made a scapegoat for the death of his former colleague.

He has said he believed MI6 was involved in the murder because agents had been unhappy at the way Litvinenko boasted of his links to them.(ANI)

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