14:09 GMT +3 hours25 May 2016
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Litvinenko inquiry

UK Report Claims Putin to Blame for Litvinenko Death

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The killing of former Russian FSB secret service officer Alexander Litvinenko has been laid at the door of President Putin in a widely expected conclusion to a public inquiry.

The so-called public inquiry final report, released Thursday, found that Litvinenko was poisoned using Polonium-210 by former FSB officers Dmitry Kovtun and Andrei Lugovoy, on the orders of Nikolai Patrushev (head of the FSB in 2006) and "probably" Putin.

There has never been an inquest proper or a criminal trial in the Litvinenko case and both Kovtun and Lugovoy deny the charges.

Litvinenko fled to London in 2000 after making a series of dramatic allegations about the FSB and Putin and being dismissed from the service. Chief among the allegations was that the FSB had been ordered to kill the tycoon Boris Berezovsky.

​The public inquiry found that Litvinenko had been paid £2000 a month by the UK intelligence service MI6 for information about Russian organized crime. According to Lugovoy, Litvinenko had tried to recruit him as an MI6 agent.

The report claims Lugovoy and Kovtun poisoned Litvinenko in the Pine Bar in the Millennium Hotel, London in November 2006 in reprisal for his outspoken views on the FSB and Putin himself.

​The public inquiry — chaired by Sir Robert Owen — failed to take oral evidence from either of the accused and also heard a "considerable quantity" of evidence behind closed doors.

UK Home Secretary Theresa May made several attempts to prevent the inquiry taking place and there has never been a criminal trial.

Litvinenko's Death by Radiation Poisoning

Alexander Litvinenko had been an officer of the Russian FSB security service, who, in 1998 accused the Russian authorities of conspiring to assassinate the tycoon Boris Berezovsky (found hanged in his bathroom in March 2013). He also alleged widespread corruption within the FSB.

Alexander Litvinenko, former KGB spy and author of the book Blowing Up Russia: Terror From Within photographed at his home in London. (File)
© AP Photo/ Alistair Fuller
Alexander Litvinenko, former KGB spy and author of the book "Blowing Up Russia: Terror From Within" photographed at his home in London. (File)

Litvinenko was arrested on charges of exceeding his authority and acquitted in 1999. 

He was rearrested in 2000, but again the charges were dropped. He was dismissed from the FSB and was granted asylum in the UK, where he allegedly worked for the British intelligence services. It was alleged that Litvinenko had been supplying them with somewhat alarmist information about the Russian mafia in Spain. The mafia had extensive contacts with senior Russian politicians.

On November 1, 2006 he met two Russian men, both ex-FSB officers — Dmitry Kovtun and Andrei Lugovoy — in the Millennium Hotel, in Grosvenor Square, London, where he had a cup of tea. 

That day, Litvinenko also met Mario Scaramella, a security consultant and academic nuclear expert, in the Itsu sushi bar in Piccadilly, London.
© AP Photo/ Matt Dunham
That day, Litvinenko also met Mario Scaramella, a security consultant and academic nuclear expert, in the Itsu sushi bar in Piccadilly, London.

Litvinenko complained of illness that evening and was admitted to hospital. He suffered a slow and agonizing death from radioactive polonium-210 poisoning and died in University College Hospital on November 23, 2006.

Alexander Litvinenko is pictured at the Intensive Care Unit of University College Hospital in London, England. (File)
© Fotobank.ru/Getty Images/ Natasja Weitsz
Alexander Litvinenko is pictured at the Intensive Care Unit of University College Hospital in London, England. (File)

The British authorities claimed that Kovtun and Lugovoy poisoned Litvinenko with pololium-210. Evidence of the radioactive substance was found on the aircraft both Russians traveled on, as well as in all the places the three men met. Kovtun and Lugovoy have both totally denied the accusations.

Blocked Inquest

The original inquest into Litvinenko's death had stalled for eight years, because of the UK government's dogged refusal to allow evidence from its security agencies — MI5, MI6 and the police. Sir Robert Owen, who originally acted as Her Majesty's Assistant Coroner for Inner North London, held a series of preliminary hearings, but the inquest never actually got underway in eight years.

Sir Robert Owen, chairman of the public inquiry into the death of Alexander Litvinenko, poses for a photograph at the Royal Courts of Justice, central London.
© AP Photo/ John Stillwell
Sir Robert Owen, chairman of the public inquiry into the death of Alexander Litvinenko, poses for a photograph at the Royal Courts of Justice, central London.

In the end, Sir Robert appealed successfully for the inquest to be turned into a public inquiry which would be able to 'hear' the evidence, but not necessarily in public. However, British Home Secretary Theresa May announced that "the inquiry will not address the question of whether the UK authorities could or should have taken steps which would have prevented the death."

The Russian Investigative Committee said it would refuse to take part in the public inquiry, as the inquiry would not be "public at all," a spokesman for the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.

"In reality it means that the relevant materials, which the British authorities consider 'classified' would be discussed at closed hearings in London.

"They would be accessible neither to the Russian Investigative Committee nor to the public as a whole," a statement said.

Related:
UK Report on Litvinenko Case Not of Great Interest to Moscow - Kremlin
'Through Sherlock's Eyes': New Litvinenko Film Hopes to 'Clear the Air'
10 Myths and Facts About Litvinenko
Tags:
findings, inquiry, polonium-210, poisoning, spy, radiation, asylum, intelligence, MI6, MI5, Russian Investigative Committee, FSB, Dmitry Kovtun, Andrei Lugovoi, Alexander Litvinenko, Boris Berezovsky, Great Britain, Russia, United Kingdom, London
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  • in reply toMikhas (Show commentHide comment)
    Mikhas, All these devil "judges" are not allowed to progress up the chain unless there is enough blackmail material on them. Remember Hutton who sealed Kelly truth for 70 years at yet another British "truth" inquiry.
  • aggttc
    I have read some where that it was MI6 who did it - so easy now to blame Putin for it. I believe that the Royal family murdered Princess Diana for they are afraid that the future King of England's mother has become a Muslim
  • alex
    A new James Bond 007 story. But I dont know, who is a "good guy" and who is a "bad guy". If did it some of CIA or MI5 agents, the commanding officer would let him etch in acid by Victor-Cleaner...
  • ptcjmin reply toMikhas (Show commentHide comment)
    Mikhas, agree and the question is for how long the media will keep on as ordinary civilians know and have started to look for alternating news.
  • ptcjmin reply to (Show commentHide comment)
    WW3 is here, is the Kelly case sealed for so long? Well that is the answer as it gives evidence of state terrorism.
  • choticastile
    Yeah, and the moon is made of cheese..... Oh, by the way, Putin is to blame for the ongoing drought in my country! --- Ha bloody ha! Mr Putin, all we can all say, is the more "they" run you down, the MORE we LOVE you! Thank the Good Lord the world has YOU!
  • choticastilein reply toMikhas (Show commentHide comment)
    Mikhas, Absolutely right! Load of boring BS! Westerner should long since have been on their feet, scudding these riggers -- never mind suspicious --! But those who remain silent and swallow the rubbish foisted on them, deserve to be swallowed by the rubbish!
  • tony pin reply toalex(Show commentHide comment)
    alex, 007 licence to kill. The Brits are up to armpits in killings.
  • arnelmadrinan
    Global Warming ,,blame Putin hahahahhahaha
    Death to Traitor
  • The math is simple, Russia had nothing to gain by eliminating Mr Litvinenko and would only incur costs to its reputation. After a decade, any intel Litvinenko had was beyond stale, worthless. However, it is also clear that certain Western powers very much wanted to discredit Mr Putin, and eliminating Litvinenko in such a cloak and dagger poisoning played perfectly into the Western narrative of an evil Mr Putin who was complicating the West's geopolitical plans, supporting Iran and improving relations with China among other things.

    The same goes for Nemtsov - a washed up, has been, Yeltsin era opposition politician eliminated in a spectacular cloak and dagger assassination, right before a big opposition rally? This does not even require math to figure out. Doh!
  • cmat.wolfgang
    Hmm, is it so easy for a foreign secret Service to kill a MI6 Agent in London?
    If so, what I don't believe it is, it sounds pretty embarassing for MI6 :-)

    And even if, since when do live Secret Service agents happily ever after they change sides?
    Somebody, who decides to do such work, should be aware of breach of trust followups.
    No pity by me:-)
  • vendor
    It is amazing how suddenly the UK cares about the Russian spies :)
  • anne00marie
    I am confused. Is Sir Robert Owen a coroner or officially trained in law? Why was he conducting this inquiry and what authority has he got to slander the Head of State of a sovereign nation, based on PROBABLY? Besides the fact he is due to retire and needs an outside income? My other point of confusion, is the fact that spies know what they sign up for, but why did nobody else come in contact from the polonium, if the teapot was the primary source of the crime?
  • anne00mariein reply toanne00marie(Show commentHide comment)
    anne00marie, I have found out the answer to one of my questions, as I seriously believed a coroner to be more qualified via medical qualifications than legal qualifications.
  • in reply toptcjm(Show commentHide comment)
    ptcjm, google hutton 70 years
  • gluda
    There is a dirty hand of M16 all around the world. The most dangerous crime organisation . Not a surprise and not the first time they murdered their own agent/ex agent to blame someone else . M16 has bloody hands up to the shoulders .
  • Ivan Zadorozhny
    "Probably" approved? What a weasel. If that is the best that the UK gov't sponsored inquiry can manage then you can be certain it found no trace of Putin in that. Anyway, until and unless motive is established any accusation against Russia will sound hollow.
  • ptcjm
    Interesting to follow as different incidents in the USA/Israel/UK agenda together with NATO seem to have cover ups repeatedly played out as to wipe out any possibility of their connections to the crimes.
  • rogertidy
    A storm in a ten-year-old tea cup. It should not be allowed to stand in the way of better relations between our two countries. We need to unite, not least in the fight against Islamic terrorism.
  • michael
    agreed with the sentiments above. As I wrote elsewhere, it has become an industry for some. :(
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