Main suspect in FSB operative Litvinenko murder withdraws from case
Russian MP and former Federal Protective Service (FSO) officer, Andrey Lugovoy, announced that he is withdrawing from the investigation into the deadly poisoning of Russian agent Aleksandr Litvinenko, which took place in London in 2006, as he believes UK authorities to be biased, Russian news portal RT.com wrote, March 12.
“I have come to the conclusion that the British authorities will not give me an opportunity to prove my innocence and that I will not be able to find justice in Great Britain,” Lugovoy told the Interfax news agency, according to RT.
Lugovoy allegedly met with Litvinenko a few days before he came down with symptoms of radioactive poisoning. The UK authorities have made him the chief suspect in the case based on this information.
He agreed to participate in the investigation from Moscow, but refused to travel to Britain for questioning. A subsequent extradition order was refused by the Russian authorities.
Lugovoy is currently a Member of Parliament, which guarantees immunity. He has always maintained his innocence and repeatedly blamed London-based Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky for Litvinenko’s murder, according to the UK press.
Aleksandr Litvinenko died in a UK hospital at the end of 2006 after suffering from radiation poisoning. A former Russian secret service (FSB) operative, Litvinenko received political asylum in the UK after being arrested several times in Russia, following the exposure of an alleged plot by the authorities to assassinate Berezovsky.
He allegedly worked closely with the British foreign secret service (MI6), and wrote two books in exile accusing the FSB of staging terrorist attacks to help current Russian President Vladimir Putin gain power.
Lugovoy’s refusal to take part in the investigation is the latest in a series of refusals from the Russian side to cooperate with the case. It will no doubt further strain already ailing UK-Russian relations.