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 . . .
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By Sean — 12 years ago
It appears that the British police are about to find their men. Scotland Yard has decided to interrogate Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun as key witnesses in the Litvinenko murder. Lugovoi, 41, a Russian business man and former KGB officer was questioned by British and Russian investigators today. He also received tests for radiation posing, but vowed he would not to release them to the public. In a press conference, Lugovoi professed his innocence, adding, “Someone is trying to set me up. But I can’t understand who. Or why.”
Dmitry Kovtun has been the hospital with radiation poisoning for a week. And it was announced today that his ex-wife, her boyfriend, and her two children were hospitalized with contamination of radiation. Kovtun accompanied Lugovoi to meet Litvinenko on Nov. 1 at the Millennium Hotel in London. He is now being investigated by German police for being possession of radioactive material. British and Russian authorities questioned him last week. The British now want another crack at him. Kommersant reports,
The London police consider Dmitry Kovtun a witness in the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko. For its part, the Russian General Prosecutor’s office considers him a victim of attempted murder. Last weekend, however, Hamburg chief public attorney Martin Kenke announced that Dmitry Kovtun, who has a German residency permit, is being charged by the Hamburg police with the illegal possession and mishandling of radioactive materials. According to Mr. Kenke, the German investigators have grounds to believe that Dmitry Kovtun is not only a victim of radiation sickness but also the “poisoner” in the Litvinenko case.
Yesterday a representative of the Hamburg police told Kommersant that “the police currently cannot answer the question of what legal consequences the collected evidence against Mr. Kovtun could lead to.” “The investigation has several working versions, but we currently cannot comment on them,” said the police spokesman. In general, however, the Hamburg police believe that Dmitry Kovtun transported polonium-210 to Germany from Moscow on October 28. On that day, according to the police report, he flew to Hamburg on an Aeroflot flight from Moscow together with another Russian citizen, whose name has not been disclosed. Mr. Kovtun spent the night of October 28-29 in his ex-wife’s apartment on Hertzberger Street, where traces of polonium-210 were found. The next day he bought a pair of pants in one of the stores in the center of Hamburg, leaving traces of radiation behind. He spent the next night in his former mother-in-law’s apartment in the Haselau region, where radiation was also discovered.
It looks like Scotland Yard might have itself two potential suspects, that is, if they live. Or if they would even be extradited to Britain. The Russians have set conditions for the British investigation. Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika said last week that the Russian Constitution doesn’t allow extradition of Russian citizens to Britain, and that all interrogations would be done by Russian officials. Though there were hints that the investigation would go smoother if the British allow them to interrogate, and possibly extradite, Boris Berezovsky and Akhmed Zakaev in return.
And to top off everything, Litvinenko’s wife, Marina Litvinenko, 44, is speaking out. She told the Daily Mail, ““Sasha was a very emotional person. He could blame Putin. Obviously it was not Putin himself, of course not. But what Putin does around him in Russia makes it possible to kill a British person on British soil. I believe that it could have been the Russian authorities.”
The Charlie Rose Show has a roundtable discussion on the Litvinenko Affair with Prof. Stephen Cohen, Former Ambassador to the Soviet Union, Jack Matlock, Edward Jay Epstien, and Litvinenko’s co-author, Yuri Fleshtinsky. Watch it courtesy of Russia Blog.Post Views: 557
By Sean — 8 years ago
DE RUEHMO #2429/01 1441227
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 241227Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0559
INFO RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 002429
EO 12958 DECL: 05/23/2017
TAGS PREL, PGOV, PINR, RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIAN REACTION TO LITVINENKO MURDER CHARGES
REF: LONDON 1997
Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns. Reasons 1.4 (b and d).
1. (C) SUMMARY: 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. Official and unofficial Russian reaction to the May 22 British announcement that Lugovoy would be charged with the murder of Aleksandr Litvinenko has been nearly uniform in rejecting the UK request that he stand trial in London. The MFA held out the prospect of further cooperation in the investigation, while citing the impossibility of extradition, but other Russian commentators were more categorical, suggesting that the British charges were politically motivated. 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. We should continue to reinforce to the GOR the damaging consequences to Russia’s reputation should this case fail to reach trial. END SUMMARY.
2. (C) On May 22, the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service announced that it had sufficient evidence to request Lugovoy’s extradition and to charge him with the polonium poisoning of Litvinenko in November 2006. UK Ambassador Brenton told the Ambassador May 23 that the UK Embassy expected to receive the final warrant by the end of the week and would transmit it to the Procuracy shortly thereafter.
EXTRADITION: OBSTACLES AND OPTIONS
3. (SBU) Both the Russian Constitution and the Criminal Code prohibit the GOR from extraditing Russian citizens, as is the case in several other European countries whose legal systems have evolved from the Napoleonic code. Russia has a 2006 Memorandum of Understanding with the Crown Prosecution Service and is a signatory to the 1957 European Convention on Extradition. Both of these were mentioned in the Prosecution Service’s announcement of the charges, but neither of them would supersede the Russian Constitution and obligate Russia to extradite Lugovoy. There is a precedent for the GOR to prosecute Russian citizens in lieu of extradition. Three times it has done so at U.S. request — two murders and one money laundering case — but none of these cases led to a conviction, and the British are not apparently considering this option.
4. (SBU) In a May 22 statement on its website, the MFA reiterated its readiness to cooperate further in an objective investigation into Litvinenko’s death, but it emphasized that Russia’s legal prohibitions against extradition were well known and similar to those in place in other countries.
5. (SBU) Other official and unofficial Russian reaction was overwhelmingly against the British request. Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov said that the Russian parliament would uphold Russian law and not allow Lugovoy to be returned to Britain. International Affairs Committee Chairman Konstantin Kosachev warned that diplomatic relations with the UK would be negatively affected should the charges be politically motivated. Duma Deputy Viktor Ilyukhin, the vice chair of the Duma’s Security Committee, rhetorically asked why Russia should even consider Britain’s request when it ignored the GOR’s efforts to extradite Boris Berezovskiy and Chechen separatist emissary Akhmed Zakayev. LDPR Chairman Vladimir Zhironovskiy thought that Russian law enforcement might want to trade Lugovoy for Berezovskiy.
6. (SBU) Independent Duma Deputy Vladimir Ryzhkov was one of the few who suggested Russia’s international interests ought to take precedence over national law and expressed confidence in the results of the British investigation. Protecting Lugovoy would lead to extensive damage to Russia’s image abroad, he said. Likewise, LDPR Deputy Aleksey Mitrofonov publicly called on Lugovoy to return to London voluntarily. Mitrofonov said that Russia and Britain needed to resolve the issue or Russia faced the prospect of further deterioration in its relations with the West amid growing suspicions that the GOR was protecting Lugovoy. He suggested that “public” pressure on Lugovoy to voluntarily face British justice might be the best way out of an impasse.
BRITAIN’S NEXT STEPS
7. (C) Noting that the UK would be seeking an EU statement of support in urging Russia to agree to extradition (reftel), Brenton predicted that the failure to turn over Lugovoy would create serious problems in London’s bilateral relationship with Moscow, and potentially problems in the EU-Russian relationship as well. Failing any progress, he reiterated the UK may reassess whether it would support a new EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. The German and French missions have expressed to us their doubts about this approach, noting the similar constitutional restrictions on the extradition of nationals by some EU countries.
PUBLIC APATHY ABOVE ALL
8. (C) Ekho Moskvy’s Aleksey Venediktov told us separately there is little chance of a resolution soon, particularly given the rift in relations between Putin and Blair. Putin believes PM Blair betrayed him over the British refusal to extradite Berezovskiy, and Venediktov said that the GOR has now pinned its hopes for a better relationship with Britain on Brown. Venediktov said Russian public opinion is largely indifferent to the whole affair, based on responses to Ekho’s on-air discussions about Litvinenko’s death, and doubted it would be a factor in the GOR position. Demos Center’s Tanya Lokshina similarly questioned whether there would be anything other than public support for the GOR’s position and that the public was more likely to believe that the charge against Lugovoy was one more Western provocation.
9. (C) Comment. It is highly unlikely that the GOR will yield its constitutional principle on extradition. There is no indication that any Russian offer of cooperation short of extradition will satisfy the Crown Prosecution Service’s request. Given the sensational nature of the murder and the uncertainty over where the trial may lead beyond Lugovoy, there has been little official interest expressed in Lugovoy clearing his name in a UK court. Although we know of no other legal mechanisms that would trump the Russian constitution, we should continue to reinforce to the GOR the long-term damage to Russia’s reputation if this case fails to go to trial. BURNSPost Views: 622
By Sean — 9 years ago
A suspected murderer, an ex-KGB turned oligarch, and a “dissident” liberal are all part of what will prove to be a mayoral election of the year. The three aren’t the only candidates. Of course, every official Russian political party has thrown their hat into the race. The aforementioned Lugovoi will run on the LDPR ticket, Anatoly Pakhomov represents United Russia, Yuri Dzaganiya for the KPRF, and recently announced Just Russia candidate Viktor Kurpitko. Other possible candidates include a possible run by former Bolshoi ballerina Anastasia Volochkova and the head of Sochi’s arm wrestling federation Stanislav Koretsky (whether the latter will take in repeated viewings of Sly Stallone’s Over the Top for inspiration is unknown). The prize is Sochi the Black Sea coastal resort town that will host the 2014 Winter Games. Or rather the real prize is the $12.5 billion in allocated government funds to make Sochi an Olympic Winter Wonderland.
Oppositionists and outsiders are hopeful given last week’s election of a political outsider to head Murmansk. Sergei Subbotin’s win shocked the Kremlin and United Russia (so much so that the region’s governor was sacked, er resigned, this weekend allegedly for supporting Subbotin.). But before oppositionists get all uppity, they might want to take notice that upon election Subbotin immediately announced his support for Putin though refused to join United Russia. So I bet Murmansk is a loss, the Kremlin will eventually live with it. I seriously doubt that it will take any political gambles with Sochi.
The election will certainly prove to be, in the words of the New York Times, “the season’s most sensational political sideshow.” In fact the fun has already begun, even before the ballerina and arm wrestler have declared their candidacy. Today, “Kremlin critic” Nemtsov was reportedly doused with ammonia outside his campaign headquarters. According to his spokeswoman the attack was carried out by two assailants. “A person with long hair, women’s clothes and a deep voice approached [Nemtsov] with a bouquet of flowers while an assailant splashed him with ammonia,” she told the AP. Nemtsov, however, wasn’t injured despite some of the ammoniacal fluid got into his eyes. He even went on about his scheduled news conference. The police were called, but in pure fashion they showed up more than an hour later.
The fact that Nemtsov wasn’t injured makes me wonder whether the substance was the pungent liquid at all. There is only one other substance I can think of that smells of ammonia but doesn’t carry any dangers: piss. I’m not the only one wondering if he was subject to a golden shower.
And if Nemtsov was doused with piss, then who were the pissers? In an interview on Ekho Moskvy, Nemtsov claimed the attack was the work of Nashi. “The regime, obviously finding itself in a hysterical position, decided to use criminals, in particular Nashists, judging by the tactics.”
It certainly smells of Nashi. After all, the youth group has been quite active doling out provocations of late. In addition to, the stunt they played on Ilya Yashin, a member of the pro-Kremlin group has recently admitted to carrying out the cyber attacks on Estonia, including exacting revenge on Kommersant with a denial of service attack on the paper’s website after it published an article on the incident, picketing Novaya gazeta for publishing an unflattering article about the new patriarch Aleksei II, protesting outside the latest Khodorkovsky trial and demanding Sberbank’s top managers to give back their bonuses. Interestingly, the police detained thirty-five Nashists in the Khodorkovsky action and twelve in the Sberbank.
I guess you can now add pissing on Nemtsov to the list.Post Views: 1,651