‘Poisoned Russian spy was working for UK`s MI6’
London: Russian Alexander Litvinenko was a "registered and paid" agent working for Britain`s foreign intelligence agency when he died after being mysteriously poisoned, a lawyer representing his widow told an official hearing on Thursday.
Another lawyer said the UK has evidence that the Russian government was behind Litvinenko`s death.
Britain is investigating the demise of Litvinenko, who died in November 2006 after drinking tea laced with the rare radioactive isotope polonium-210 at a London hotel. The case has badly strained relations between the United Kingdom and Russia, which denies poisoning the former Russian agent-turned-Kremlin critic.
Today`s session aimed to set out the scope of a public inquest into Litvinenko`s death. Judge Robert Owen said the inquest is expected to start in May.
Lawyer Ben Emmerson said that, at the time of his death, Litvinenko was working for Britain`s MI6 spy agency and had been tasked to help Spanish intelligence investigate the Russian mafia. The UK probe must consider if MI6 failed to properly assess the risks before sending the agent out on his assignment, Emmerson said.
Lawyer Neil Garnham, representing Britain`s Home Office, told the hearing he could "neither confirm nor deny" if Litvinenko was employed by British intelligence.
Meanwhile, Hugh Davies, the lawyer who advises the coroner in the inquest, told the hearing that a "high-level assessment" of confidential material provided by the British government established a case for the Russian state`s culpability in Litvinenko`s poisoning.
Litvinenko, a former Russian FSB agent, blamed the Kremlin -- specifically Russian President Vladimir Putin -- for his impending death, and his family has demanded Russian authorities be held accountable. Britain has accused two Russians, Alexander Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun, of killing Litvinenko, but Moscow has refused to hand them over.
Inquests are held in Britain to determine the facts whenever someone dies unexpectedly, violently or in disputed circumstances. Inquests are meant only to determine a cause of death, so they don`t apportion blame. But in Litvinenko`s case every detail of the inquiry is being scrutinized for clues to the alleged involvement of Russia`s secret services.
Download the all new Zee News app for Android and iOS to stay up to date with latest headlines and news stories in Politics, Entertainment, Sports, Technology, Business and much more from India and around the world.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Helicopter ferrying 6 pilgrims, woman pilot crashes near Katra
- Growing sense of despondency in India from last 6-8 months: Aamir Khan
- 8th Ramnath Goenka Awards: Sudhir Chaudhary awarded for Excellence in Journalism
- Tejashwi Yadav takes charge as Deputy CM of Bihar
- Arvind Kejriwal clarifies his friendly gesture with Lalu Prasad Yadav
- Swaragini: Ragini gets caught in her own trap; Swara slaps her
- Rahul's mails nail Peter Mukerjea's involvement in Sheena Bora murder case?
- Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh bypoll results: As it happened on November 24
- Lesson for jihadi aspirants? ISIS says Indians not good enough as 6 out of 23 fighters from India are killed
- Aamir Khan feels intolerance growing in India, says his wife suggested moving out of India