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Litvinenko killers should be sought in London - Lugovoi

RIA Novosti

27/10/2007 18:32 MOSCOW, October 27 (RIA Novosti) - British press reports that ex-Russian Federal Security Service officer Alexander Litvinenko worked for MI6 could change the course of investigation into his death, a suspect in the case said Saturday.

Businessman Andrei Lugovoi whom Britain suspects of being involved in Litvinenko's poisoning said: "The [Daily Mail's] reference to influential sources in Britain's intelligence and diplomatic services saying that current MI6 chief John Scarlett worked with Litvinenko confirms once again that those who ordered this crime and its perpetrators should be sought not in Moscow but in London."

The Daily Mail published an article Saturday saying Litvinenko who died in London in November 2006 "was receiving a retainer of around ?2,000 [$4,000] a month from the British security services at the time he was murdered."

"I am convinced that if Litvinenko was not killed with British secret services' direct participation then [he was killed] with their connivance," Lugovoi said.

"British secret services know the names of those who ordered and committed this crime," he said, adding that Litvinenko had repeatedly told him about his patrons in British secret services.

Scotland Yard has said Litvinenko had received a fatal dose of polonium 210 November 1, 2006, when he met with Lugovoi, former Kremlin bodyguard-turned businessman, and his business partner Dmitry Kovtun at a luxury hotel. Kovtun has been treated as a witness in the case.

Russia refused to extradite Lugovoi to Britain saying its Constitution does not permit the extradition of its nationals, and suggested trying Lugovoi at home if sufficient evidence was provided.

The millionaire businessman, who owns a private security firm, Lugovoi plans to run for the lower house of parliament in the December elections. Membership in the State Duma would give him immunity from prosecution under Russian law.

Lugovoi earlier said the Crown Prosecution Service's accusations were a lie inspired by the British leadership and secret services.

The extradition dispute has strained relations between Russia and Britain, which sparked a tit-for-tat row involving expulsions of diplomats and visa restrictions.

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