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Britain Concerned over Litvinenko Case Spending

RIA Novosti

14:59 03/08/2012

MOSCOW, August 3 (RIA Novosti) - British Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke voiced concern over the amount of money his country spent on the case of late Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, with the costs estimated to reach four million British pounds ($6.2 million), BBC reported on Friday.

In a letter to Shirley Radcliffe, a coroner leading the inquiry into Litvinenko’s murder, Clarke said the government was under "severe financial constraints” and asked for a more “refined” estimate of the costs, adding that reducing spending is an option.

There are four London boroughs involved in the case, and in order not to put financial strain on them the British government earlier agreed to pay the costs.

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 polonium-210, a radioactive substance.

A major diplomatic row ensued after Moscow rejected London’s requests to extradite the main suspect in Litvinenko’s murder, former KGB bodyguard Andrei Lugovoi. The quarrel led to a drastic deterioration in bilateral relations. Lugovoi has denied involvement in the killing.

The topic of Litvinenko’s poisoning came up again on Thursday in London during a meeting of British Prime Minister David Cameron and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“There has been no softening in our stance on the Litvinenko case,” BBC quoted Cameron as saying.

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