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    Update: Russian investigators question Berezovsky, Zakayev in Litvinenko case

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    Exiled Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky and fellow exile Ahmed Zakayev have been questioned for almost four hours by Russian investigators working in the United Kingdom to probe last November's murder of former secret agent Alexander Litvinenko, a RIA Novosti correspondent said Friday.

    LONDON, March 30 (RIA Novosti) - Exiled Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky and fellow exile Ahmed Zakayev have been questioned for almost four hours by Russian investigators working in the United Kingdom to probe last November's murder of former secret agent Alexander Litvinenko, a RIA Novosti correspondent said Friday.

    Litvinenko died November 23, 2006 after being poisoned with the radioactive substance Polonium-210. In December, a Scotland Yard team arrived in Moscow to question two key suspects in the case, spies-turned-businessmen Andrei Lugovoy and Dmitri Kovtun.

    "The meeting began at 11 in the morning and finished at about three in the afternoon," Berezovsky said.

    He said the interview had been held in the presence of Scotland Yard officials who had ensured that his terms for the interview be met.

    "When I arrived at the Scotland Yard police station, officers confirmed that the investigator from the [Russian] Prosecutor General's Office had been screened for poisonous substances and arms," Berezovsky said.

    When asked what kind of questions he had been asked, Berezovsky said: "I had the impression that he [the investigator] was a tax inspector or a major Russian bank representative, who wanted to learn where my and my family's accounts were and what fortune Alexander Litvinenko had, how much he had in his account and who will inherit his fortune."

    The businessman said that the investigator switched to more topical questions after Berezovsky protested.

    Earlier this year, Scotland Yard handed the Litvinenko case over to Britain's Crown Prosecution Service, and the Russian Prosecutor's Office launched an inquiry of its own.

    The tycoon reiterated that the only reason he had agreed to the interview was to prevent the Prosecutor General's Office from using his refusal as an argument against Scotland Yard investigators questioning witnesses or suspects in Moscow concerning the murder of his friend.

    Berezovsky said the Russian investigative team had initially planned to question more than 100 witnesses, but that only three had consented, including himself and fellow exile Ahmed Zakayev.

    "To the best of my knowledge, of all the people the Prosecutor General's Office wanted to meet - in total more than 100 - only three have agreed: Zakayev, me and someone I don't know," he said.

    Berezovsky and Chechen rebel emissary Zakayev were both granted political asylum in the U.K. after fleeing Russia, where they are wanted on charges of fraud and complicity in terrorism, respectively.

    The Russian Prosecutor's Office has repeatedly approached British authorities with a request that the two men be extradited to their country of origin, but each request has been denied.

    Zakayev said that the range of questions had been agreed on before the interview and did not involve any hints of his extradition.

    When asked whether further meetings with Russian investigators were possible he said: "I stated earlier that I am ready to cooperate in all issues of the case."

    Litvinenko was charged with abuse of office in Russia in the late 1990s after he publicly claimed he had been ordered by his superiors at the Federal Security Service (FSB) to assassinate Berezovsky.

    He met the oligarch through a friend, Alex Goldfarb, on his arrival in the U.K. several years later, and began working for him as an adviser.

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