Andrei Lugovoi promised a “sensation for public opinion in
On the whole, Lugovoi played the ever so overplayed, “the entire affair is to discredit
You can listen to the press conference here (in Russian).
This fiasco is just getting better and better.
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By Sean — 11 years ago
With all the hoopla around the Anna Politkovskaya murder case, we’ve forgotten to check in with good ol’Andrei Lugovoi to see how he’s doing. Whether valid or not the Politikovskaya murder is often linked with the Litvinenko murder with the following terms–dissident, “fierce Kremlin critic,” Berezovsky, Chechnya, KGB/FSB, and, of course, Putin.
Unlike the Politkovskaya case, however, the Litvinenko case remains stuck in a bureaucratic-diplomatic-legal quagmire. The Russian government has repeated refused allowing Lugovoi to be extradited to Britain. And so far the Russian authorities have been unsatisfied with what the British have provided by way of proof of Lugovoi’s involvement. “We have not received any evidence from London of Lugovoi’s guilt, and those documents we have are full of blank spaces and contradictions,” Alexander Bastrykin, the head of the committee investigating the Litvinenko affair at the Russian Prosecutors Office, told Rossiiskaya gazeta. The UK Crown Prosecution Office, surely tired of inquiries and what it considers statements that amount to nothing more than ravings, declined to comment on Bastrykin’s recent comments. They simply referred statements made on 22 May that stated that the Crown had sufficient evidence to try Lugovoi.
Though his future remains uncertain, that doesn’t mean Lugovoi is keeping his mouth shut. In a press conference held today, Lugovov rattled off a spite fire of allegations against, you guessed it, Boris Berezovsky. Lugovoi claims that not only is BAB responsible for the Litvinenko murder, but also Politkovskaya’s murder and sought to mastermind a plot to off Elena Tregubova. Tregubova is the author of the scandalous political tell all Tales of a Kremlin Digger. She applied for political exile in Britain earlier this year claiming that her book put her life in danger. If she really was on Berezovsky’s kill list, why the hell would she flee to Britain? I guess Andrei forgot to explain that one.
But he did say this, “At the meeting with Berezovsky held in London in late October of 2006, only one topic was under discussion – arranging protection for Elena Tregubova. Having analyzed Berezovsky’s persistent interest towards whether or not the protection of this journalist would be executed in the name of an employee of my firm,” and “that Boris Abramovich was preparing an alibi for himself and simultaneously building a chain to remove Politkovskaya, Litvinenko, Tregubova or Politkovskaya, Tregubova, Litvinenko.” He went on to suggest that Berezovsky represents the “fifth estate” in Britain.
It as if Boris didn’t already have enough to worry about. His name has been splashed all over the news after Russian general Prosecutor Chaika made veiled implications that he ordered the hit on Politkovskaya. Earlier this month, Russian authorities filled a sixth warrant for his arrest for embezzling $13 million from SBS Argo Bank in 1997. He already has the Brazilians on his back and now the Dutch and French are vying for some space on there too. Do ya feel the heat yet, Boris? Do ya?
One thing is for sure. Lugovoi should keep his pie-hole shut because he can’t seem to keep his story straight. For example, Kommersant has discovered that the supposed “analytical documents” Lugovoi said he and Litvinenko sold to British intelligence for 10,000 euros turned out to be a scam. They weren’t government documents at all, but written by the staff at the Center for Political Information. When asked about the confidentiality of the papers, CPI head Alexei Mukhin told Kommersant that
“The excerpts that Vlast quoted were taken from our reference publication, “The System of Moscow Clubs. Elite, Lobbyists and Brain Centers” issued in 2006 and our monitoring for the balance of forces in high ranks [#122 as of March 2006]. We have been publishing these monitoring issues every other month since 2001. The reference guide on night clubs was compiled from my own information gathered by students of Russian Social University, so it can’t confidential by any means. The students went to closed clubs to gather information, so they actually carried out a journalist investigation. The monitoring of the balance of forces is an exclusive material. It is a limited edition which is distributed among CPI’s clients only – there are no more than a few dozens of them, anyway.”
When Kommersant asked Lugovoi about the documents he said “I’ve never said Litvinenko and I sold informational and analytical files about Russia to anyone in England. Litvinenko is a traitor who deserves the worst treatment by all Russian citizens!” Ah, right . . . But did you sell the documents, Mr. Lugovoi? Silence. Oh, nevermind. We’ll just use your statements from 31 May: “So, we were offering them various analytical materials in different spheres of the economy. We received money for these materials directly, and Litvinenko got 20 percent in cash from them. This is what he told me. If they were to transfer, say, $10,000, they would transfer $8,000 and give the rest to Litvinenko.”
Insert foot in mouth.
By Sean — 12 years ago
I don’t have time nor much interest in continuing to comment on the recent developments of the Litvinenko Affair. Suffice to say that it has become so complex that one would have to only concentrate on it to successfully wade through much of details. The Daily Telegraph has been kind enough to provide a Who’s Who of the affair. A Google News search will reveal literally thousands of articles.
Among the cacophony of news, I was grabbed by the headline “Brits Are Not Looking for the Truth – Ex-KGB Officer” in Kommersant. The article features a short interview, reproduced below, with one Viktor Afanasyevich (he wouldn’t give the paper his last name), the vice president of the KGB veterans’ organization, Dignity and Honor. Founded in 2003 and hosts a membership of 3000 ex-KGB agents, Dignity and Honor was dragged into the Litvinenko Affair as the group that allegedly drew up a “hit list” that included Litvinenko and Politkovskaya. In a statement to the press, Honor and Dignity’s founder Valentin Velichko said “Who is Mr Litvinenko? A traitor. But I am against the elimination of traitors. After certain events in my life I turned to religion and, as a believer, I think that the burden of our sins is already punishment enough. Litvinenko, having betrayed
, was already punishing himself.” Russia
Kommersant attempts to interview Evgeny Limarev, who is the author of the letter that speaks of Honor and Dignity’s “hit list,” were to no avail. As noted above they did manage to speak with Viktor Afanasyevich:
“Viktor Afanasyevich, the British Daily Telegraph directly accuses your fund of being involved in the murder of Alexander Litvinenko…”
“I’m not going to comment on it in any way! Imagine, your neighbor says you’re a murderer. You would naturally say it’s rubbish and would not even discuss it. Why should we behave differently?”
“Have your lawyer drawn up a suit against the newspaper?”
“Our lawyers have decided that it’s no use suiting the paper because they allegedly have Limarev’s letter and they have a right to refer to it. But we have no clue who this Limarev is. He has nothing to do with the KGB. In fact, Scotland Yard did not show any interest to this information, so it means nobody takes this letter seriously. Otherwise, they would be here. We are an open organization. It’s easy to find us. We have normal contracts with the press as well as with authorities.”
“How can you explain the fact that your foundation was mentioned in relation to the Litvinenko case?”
“We publish information about the organization, and our leaflets are available. The Daily Telegraph has taken Velichko’s picture from the leaflet, so apparently this was just the first thing that came their way. After that, they put information about our foundation into Limarev’s mouth. They think that veterans of the Foreign Intelligence Service are kind of power brokers. You know, a lot of people still remember that our organization helped to find and release the Dutch doctor Arjan Erkel from captivity. We were indeed involved in this affair – but we have nothing to do with Litvinenko.”
“Not every nonprofit organization is able to hold negotiations with Chechen militants and hold operations to save people…”
“It is quite a natural thing that we still have our work experience and we do have skills of information gathering. Therefore, we did our best after Doctors Without Borders contracted us asking for help. We still have some contacts and friends. You use your contacts as a journalist, don’t you?”
“Why did Litvinenko fear for his life?”
“Come on, he did not fear for his life! Now that he’s gone, everyone attributes all the possible nonsense to him. Of course as a defector he damaged
’s image. Everyone knows what he was doing – he was selling information for nice fees, but it could not have inflicted serious damage. To tell you the truth, he did not know much. There are lots of people like Litvinenko, and they are all well – no one would do anything to get rid of them. Western media traditionally blame the Kremlin. Recall Yushenkov’s murder. Everyone claimed that the Kremlin was to blame for his murder, but once a real killer was found, no one even bothered to apologize to special services for those ungrounded accusations. Russia
“Are there any other ‘defectors’ who are more important as public figures than Litvinenko?”
“I guess Gordievsky is.”
“Do you have your own theory of Litvinenko’s killing? Who could have been gained from it?”
“Those who contend Russian authorities, who want to mould the Empire of Evil, those who had their economic interests infringed – they could have gained some profit from it. Berezovsky of course! Well, you know,
Russiahas been quite hard on the Brits on Sakhalin, so they may still be resentful. I would not make a direct link here, though. Europe’s attitude is weird. It looks like we’re sliding back to Cold War times.”
“Do you know Lugovoi, Kovtun and Sokolenko personally?”
“We have nothing to do with them. They have no relation to the foundation. If they do know something about our organization, it must be from the press or our leaflets. This link has been made with no grounds whatsoever. We know who made his link – Berezovsky.”
“Do you think Scotland Yard will find the criminals soon?”
“You have to understand this – the Brits are not looking for truth now. They are looking for a Russian trace. If they succeed in stitching the case up to
, the murder will be solved. If it turns out that the killers have nothing to do with Russia , we may never learn about the results. I think this could prove to be the case.” Russia
“Viktor Afanasyevich, would you remind me please… how do you spell your last name?”
“Do you think it’s so necessary? My name and patronymic are quite enough, I guess…”
Kommersant’s search on the web has shown that the fund has two presidents along with Valentin Velichko. They surnames are Dolya and Ubilava. Ubilava’s first name is Anatoly, Dolya’s name is Viktor. Viktor Afanasyevich’s secretary confirmed that her boss’ last name is Dolya.
I love it when people say “I’m not going to comment!” and then comment anyway. . .
By Sean — 11 years ago
Finally the news we’ve all been waiting for. The British have formerly charged Andrei Lugovoi with the murder of Aleksandr Litvinenko. Reports Kommersant:
KGB former officer Andrey Lugovoy will be charged with intentional murder of FSB former officer and then exiled dissident Alexander Litvinenko, Sky News reported referring to Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Britain will seek to extradite Lugovoy.
There was one more suspect in Litvinenko’s case, his business partner Dmitry Kovtun, who had also met with Litvinenko on the day of polonium poisoning in Millennium hotel. But no charges against Kovtun have been presented yet.
FSB former officer Alexander Litvinenko died in a London hospital on November 23. The doctors diagnosed polonium poisoning. Britain’s detectives visited Russia past year and interrogated Kovtun and Logovoy, who denied the involvement.
Boris Berezovsky, the exiled tycoon of Russia, was also questioned in the course of investigation. Berezovsky predictably blamed the murder on Moscow and said the Kremlin wants to poison him as well.
More later . . .