07:24 GMT25 February 2020
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    Alleged Poisoning Attack on Russian Ex-Spy Skripal in UK (226)

    LONDON (Sputnik) - Former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal, who was poisoned in the United Kingdom, could have been linked to an international criminal gang, UK-based Russian businessman Valery Morozov, who was personally acquainted with Skripal, told Sputnik.

    "My opinion is that he may have been involved in an international criminal-linked gang… [This assumption] is based on Skripal’s words that he is engaged in cybersecurity. This is most likely linked to political espionage. I know how everything works here, everything has turned into an international criminal hub a long time ago, everything is connected with politics," Morozov said, adding that Skripal’s problems could have been linked with issues around big politics or large sums of money.

    Morozov added that Skripal, whom he first met in December 2017, told him that he was engaged in a lot of affairs and projects.

    "He said that he had some kind of relations with the Russian Embassy. He did not hide it, and said that the UK side knew about it. According to Skripal, he was engaged in cybersecurity, analytics. For myself, I decided that I should not contact him," the businessman added.

    He stressed that the situation around Skripal’s case should be thoroughly investigated.

    "People who benefited from the the fall of the USSR and robbed their own countries are now here in London… Sometimes I meet people from the CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States] countries [in the United Kingdom] who continue to engage in fraud here. At the same time, if any conflict happens, [the UK authorities] start to blame [Russian President Vladimir] Putin. Now we have the same thing, whatever happens — Putin is to blame. No one will look for criminals, all will be looking for links to Putin. Therefore, I say and urge during meetings and interviews to local media that it is necessary to investigate the situation, instead of groundlessly accusing someone," Morozov said.

    READ MORE: Moscow Slams Reported Britain's "Proof" on Skripal's Poisoning as 'May's Fail'

    Skripal, a former Russia's GRU military intelligence service colonel who also worked for UK intelligence, and his daughter Yulia have been in a hospital in critical condition since being exposed to a nerve agent on March 4 in the English city of Salisbury. London believes that the Skripals were exposed to the A234 nerve agent, which UK experts have claimed is related to the Novichok-class nerve agents developed in the Soviet Union. UK Prime Minister Theresa May has accused Russia of orchestrating the attack and has expelled 23 Russian diplomats.

    Over 25 countries, including the United States and EU member states, have expelled over 150 Russian diplomats in connection with the Salisbury incident so far.

    Russia, in turn, has strongly rejected the accusations and offered assistance in the investigation. However, Moscow's request for samples of the chemical substance used to poison Skripal has been rejected by London.

    Alleged Poisoning Attack on Russian Ex-Spy Skripal in UK (226)


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    crime, cybersecurity, Sergei Skripal, United Kingdom
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