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AP: Litvinenko's widow says Trepashkin will support case against Russian government

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  • Norbert Strade
    Litvinenko s widow says former KGB agent will support case against Russian government The Associated Press December 1, 2007 LONDON: The widow of poisoned
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 1, 2007
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      Litvinenko's widow says former KGB agent will support case against
      Russian government

      The Associated Press
      December 1, 2007

      LONDON: The widow of poisoned Kremlin foe Alexander Litvinenko held an
      emotional conversation Saturday with a former KGB agent who says he
      warned her husband about a Russian government plot to kill him.

      Marina Litvinenko, 44, broke down in tears as she spoke with Mikhail
      Trepashkin by phone a day after the former agent was released from jail.

      Trepashkin has said he was asked in 2002 to join a group of Russian
      intelligence agents targeting Boris Berezovsky, a self-exiled Russian
      tycoon living in London, and Litvinenko. He said he warned Litvinenko
      about the alleged death squad.

      After the phone call, Marina Litvinenko told The Associated Press that
      Trepashkin had promised to provide a written deposition on his claims to
      lawyers who have opened a case against the Russian government in the
      European Court of Human Rights for complicity her husband's murder.

      "He told me that it's very important to show people that this operation
      was launched four years ago," Marina Litvinenko said.

      Litvinenko died in a London hospital on Nov. 23, 2006, three weeks after
      drinking tea laced with the radioactive isotope Polonium-210 during a
      meeting with a group of Russian businessmen. The British government is
      seeking the extradition of one of those men — Andrei Lugovoi — on murder
      charges. Russia says its constitution forbids the extradition of citizens.

      Trepashkin, like Litvinenko, investigated allegations that the Russian
      security service was involved in a series of 1999 apartment-house
      bombings. He was arrested on charges of illegal weapons possession in
      October 2003, days before he was scheduled to testify about the
      bombings, which authorities blamed on Chechen separatists.

      Trepashkin, 50, said he rejected an offer made by a colonel in Russia's
      FSB intelligence service — successor of the KGB — in August 2002 to join
      a group targeting Berezovsky and Litvinenko. Instead, he said he warned
      Litvinenko of the plot to kill them.

      >From prison, Trepashkin wrote that FSB officers possessed poisons that
      could be applied to a car's steering wheel, door handles, telephone
      receivers and elsewhere — some of which would not leave a trace in the
      victim's body.

      Russian prosecutors have dismissed Trepashkin's allegations, and they
      refused to allow British investigators to talk to him when they visited
      Russia last year as part of an investigation into Litvinenko's death.

      Trepashkin left the FSB in 1996. He claimed he was removed in connection
      with a corruption investigation.

      Marina Litvinenko said that her husband, himself an FSB agent, had been
      asked in August 1997 to organize an assault on Trepashkin to "shut him
      up." Litvinenko refused and filed a complaint about extra-judicial
      activities being carried out by the FSB. He fled to Britain in 2000 and
      was granted political asylum.

      Litvinenko's opponents allege that he, Trepashkin and Berezovsky had
      been recruited by Britain's MI5 security service to collect information
      on Russia. Marina Litvinenko denied the charges, but did acknowledge her
      husband was occasionally paid by British law enforcement officials for
      information about Russian organized crime syndicates and businessmen in
      London.

      She said he may have met with security officials too but would not have
      known exactly who he was talking with and had certainly not been recruited.

      "He talked with officials at the Home Office about his former work but
      he didn't know exactly who they were," she said.
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