AP: Litvinenko's widow says Trepashkin will support case against Russian government
- Litvinenko's widow says former KGB agent will support case against
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 thatcould be applied to a car's steering wheel, door handles, telephone
receivers and elsewhere — some of which would not leave a trace in the
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
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.