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Britain seeks new suspect in Litvinenko poisoning case

RIA Novosti

13:52 06/11/2011

MOSCOW, November 6 (RIA Novosti) - The U.K. Crown Prosecution Service wants to charge a second man with the murder of Russian security service defector Alexander Litvinenko who was poisoned in London in 2006, The Sunday Times reported.

The Crown Prosecution Service intends to announce plans to seek the extradition of Dmitry Kovtun, a Russian businessman and an ex-KGB agent, who was earlier a key witness in the Litvinenko poisoning case.

The charges may be based on new documents collected in the Litvinenko case, the paper said.

The Sunday Times quoted a Crown Prosecution Service representative as saying that in August the office had received new documents related to the Russian defector's poisoning, giving grounds to bring charges against a second man in the Litvinenko case.

Litvinenko, a former KGB officer and outspoken critic of then-president Vladimir Putin, died in November 2006 in a London hospital after being poisoned with the radioactive substance polonium-210.

British investigators have until now accused ex-KGB bodyguard Andrei Lugovoi of the murder and demanded his extradition, sparking a major diplomatic row between the two countries.

Russia has rejected British requests to extradite Lugovoi, citing its Constitution, which does not permit the extradition of Russian nationals. The row led to a drastic deterioration in bilateral relations. Lugovoi has denied all the charges.

Lugovoi later became a member of Russia's lower house of parliament, gaining immunity from prosecution within the country.

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