16:44 GMT +317 November 2018
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    KGB defector refutes Litvinenko contact Scaramella's allegations

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    A KGB defector refuted Thursday allegations relating to the Italian prime minister made by Mario Scaramella, an Italian security consultant and contact of late former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko.

    ROME, December 7 (RIA Novosti) - A KGB defector refuted Thursday allegations relating to the Italian prime minister made by Mario Scaramella, an Italian security consultant and contact of late former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko.

    Italian newspaper La Repubblica Wednesday published a wiretapped conversation between Scaramella and an American acquaintance, in which Scaramella, citing Oleg Gordievsky, a UK resident who defected from the KGB in 1985, as saying Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi had been linked to the KGB.

    Gordievsky denied ever having said Prodi was a KGB agent or that he had been of interest to the Soviet secret services, and said such claims had come from Litvinenko.

    He said he met Scaramella on the request of the Mitrokhin Commission, a parliamentary body set up by former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi to investigate the activity of Soviet and post-Soviet spies in Italy, and that Scaramella, who advises the body, had done his best to obtain compromising information on Prodi.

    Scaramella was admitted to hospital in late November after proving positive in tests for radioactive isotope polonium-210, which killed Alexander Litvinenko an outspoken critic of the Kremlin, who Scaramella had met around the time of the latter's poisoning. But doctors said Scaramella's dose was not dangerous, and discharged him.

    Gordievsky said Litvinenko had merely said what Scaramella wanted to hear, because he was in desperate financial straits and hoped to benefit from such cooperation.

    He added that Litvinenko had also discredited Prodi among some European MPs, who he said had asked him to confirm Litvinenko's allegations.

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