Crowdleak: Breakthrough in Litvinenko case
In November 2006 Alexander Litvinenko was fatally poisoned with radioactive Polonium-210 in London. Alexander Litvinenko was a former Russian secret service agent, writer, dissident and public critic of the Russian secret service. He was best known as the author of “Blowing Up Russia: Terror From Within” and “Lubyanka Criminal Group.” According to 09MADRID869, Litvinenko also tipped off Spanish security officials on the locations, roles, and activities of several “Russian” mafia figures with ties to Spain.
After his death there has been a multitude of theories of what happened in the media. Most of them accused Russia of the murder.
In Cable 06PARIS7904 Hofmann reports on a meeting between Russia and the US on counter-terrorism. The Presidential Representative Safonov points out that “Russian authorities in London had known about and followed individuals moving radioactive substances into the city but were told by the British that they were under control before the poisoning took place.”
The result shows, that they were not under control. Why didn’t the UK stop people smuggling radioactive material into London? Or at least, watch such individuals closely enough so that something like this could not happen? Instead, the UK calls the Russian authorities back, who might have been able to foil the assassination. This could be interpreted as support for the murderers of Litvinenko. Be that as it may, as it stands, the UK is directly or indirectly responsible for the death of Alexander Litvinenko.
On 20 January 2007, British police announced it identified Andrey Lugovoy as the assassin. Two months later, the British Foreign Office officially submitted a request to the Government of Russia for the extradition of Lugovoi to face criminal charges in the UK.
Russian authorities have formally refused to extradite Andrei Lugovoy. 07MOSCOW2429, reveals there are constitutional and other legal prohibitions against the extradition of Russian citizens. The GOR is highly unlikely to extradite former FSB officer Andrey Lugovoy to Britain, citing constitutional and other legal prohibitions against the extradition of Russian citizens. Instead they offered to put Mr. Lugovoy on trial in Russia if the evidence is forwarded to them. In 07MOSCOW4599, we see that one protective measure the Kremlin had taken was to add him as the number two position on the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia’s ticket.
A few opposition voices called for Lugovoy to voluntarily submit to British justice. The British Embassy expects a further worsening in the UK-Russia and EU-Russia relationships.
Repercussions of the Litvinenko case are discussed in 08LONDON2643 and 08LONDON1837. Aldred said the cost of the fall-out to HMG from the Litvinenko issue was an end to close cooperation with Russian intelligence (FSB) on counterterrorism and other global issues. Brown and Medvedev made little progress on the issue of diplomatic visas, which are still being restricted by both countries as part of the fall-out from the Litvinenko case. Overall, the UK has had more experience lately than most western European countries with Moscow’s ire.
Lugovoy’s response to the allegations has been recorded in a Press conference of Dmitry Kovtun and Andrey Lugovoy. It reads:
Independent (UK newspaper): Did you murder Aleksandr Litvinenko?
Andrey Lugovoy: As for your question on whether I murdered Litvinenko: I unambiguously and with open eyes and face answer negatively. I have not murdered him. But unfortunately, the public in the UK still fails to grasp that. It’s quite clear that within the last 10 months a certain public opinion has developed in the UK and abroad on my involvement in the murder of Litvinenko, on the involvement of the special services and Russia as a whole. Simultaneously, none of the UK media tried to make its own investigation, to probe the issue of the selling of UK citizenship. I insist that UK citizenship was traded like finery on the market, and you’ve stood by calmly and observed it.
Since the allegations were made in 2007, there has yet to be a trial in the UK or in Russia.