MOSCOW, December 4 (RIA Novosti) The widow of ex-FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko says she needs to raise money to pay legal fees, as self-exiled tycoon Boris Berezovsky can no longer support her financially.
Marina Litvinenko, whose husband died in 2006 in London, told the British newspaper The Guardian that she cannot cover legal expenses related to the inquiry into the circumstances of her husband’s death. It was widely reported that Alexander Litvinenko died after being poisoned by the radioactive substance Polonium 210.
"It's important we know the truth. This isn't just about my personal interest. Everybody needs to know what happened," Marina Litvinenko said in an interview released on Monday evening.
She said that Berezovsky had supported her for six years, but since his attempt to sue fellow oligarch Roman Abramovich for breach of trust and contract ended with a court ordering him to pay 35 million pounds ($56 million) towards Abramovich’s legal costs, he has had to rein in his spending.
A new charity, the Litvinenko Justice Foundation, will handle donations.
The British authorities have accused two Russians of being involved in Litvinenko's death: Andrei Lugovoi, who is now a State Duma lawmaker, and Dmitry Kovtun. The Kremlin has repeatedly refused to extradite them to London.
A pre-inquest hearing to be held next week is expected to set a date for the start of the inquest. Marina Litvinenko said she would like to retain her current team, as she hopes the inquest will shed light on her husband’s death.
Marina Litvinenko, currently living in London, added that she was grateful to Berezovsky for his support over the years, and his help settling in Britain. She said that her husband had been reluctant to move from Russia, but later made Britain his home.
"He loved England. It reminded him of Nalchik," she said in the interview, referring to the city at the foot of the Caucasus mountains where he grew up, Marina Litvinenko said, referring to the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria in Russia’s North Caucasus.