AP: U.K. widens probe of ex-spy's poisoning
- U.K. widens probe of ex-spy's poisoning
By DAVID STRINGER, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 53 minutes ago
LONDON - The investigation into the death of a poisoned ex-KGB agent
was expanding outside Britain, the country's top law enforcement
official said Sunday, as investigators visited the United States and
prepared to travel to Russia.
A potential witness in the investigation into the death of former
Russian agent and Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko has been
interviewed in the United States and a team was ready to leave London
for Russia within days, a police official said.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the
sensitive nature of the case, said British police hoped to question a
number of people in Moscow including Andrei Lugovoi, another former
spy who met Litvinenko on Nov. 1, the day the 43-year-old fell ill.
The Sunday Times newspaper quoted Lugovoi as saying he had also been
contaminated with polonium-210. He denied that he and two business
associates who accompanied him to the Nov. 1 meeting were involved in
Litvinenko's death. He did not say whether he had fallen ill.
"We suspect that someone has been trying to frame us," the Times
quoted Lugovoi as saying. "Someone passed this stuff onto us ... to
point the finger at us and distract the police."
Repeated attempts to reach Lugovoi in Moscow through his business
associate, Vyacheslav Sokolenko, have been unsuccessful.
Litvinenko reported feeling unwell on Nov. 1 and died three weeks
later, his body withered, his hair fallen out and his organs ravaged.
He blamed Russian President
Vladimir Putin for his death, a charge Putin has dismissed as "nonsense."
Results of Litvinenko's autopsy are expected next week and the
ex-spy's funeral will take place in London. Due to the levels of
radiation in his body, the coffin will be sealed.
Home Secretary John Reid said Sunday the inquiry would go wherever
"the police take it."
"Over the next few days I think all of these things I think will widen
out a little from the circle just being here in Britain," Reid told
Britain's Sky News television.
British officers, who are being assisted by the FBI, have interviewed
ex-KGB officer Yuri Shvets in Virginia, the police official said.
Shvets claimed to have compiled a dossier on criminal charges made by
Russian prosecutors against people connected to the Yukos oil company.
Former Yukos shareholder Leonid Nevzlin, a Russian exile living in
Israel, told The Associated Press last week that Litvinenko had given
him a document related to the charges. Nevzlin charged by Russian
prosecutors with organizing killings, fraud and tax evasion claimed
the inquiries may have provided a motive for the ex-spy's poisoning.