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1 Dec, 2006 12:39

Italian academic who met Litvinenko reported to have radiation on him

Italian academic who met Litvinenko reported to have radiation on him

News agencies have been reporting that Mario Scaramella, one of the key figures in the inquiry into former Russian security service officer Aleksandr Litvinenko's death has traces of polonium on him.

Scaramella denies reports that he's a suspect and says he's co-operating with investigators.

Meanwhile, a team of British pathologists have performing an examination on the body of Aleksandr Litvinenko in London, but results are not yet known.

The results of the post-mortem examination are expected to shed light on how exactly the former Russian security officer died.

The suspicious death of Aleksandr Litvinenko in London last month has sparked an international police investigation.

It's suspected that 43 year old Litvinenko died last Thursday from ingesting a massive dose of polonium210.

Investigators found traces of the radioactive substance in 12 places Litvinenko visited in London and on aircraft grounded in both the UK and Russia.

With official information scarce, different versions are being published by the media everyday.

The British Independent newspaper carries a story saying Scotland Yard has discovered when Mr Litvinenko came into contact with the radioactive material which allegedly killed him.

The paper said detectives have retraced the route taken by the former agent on the day he fell ill, and believe he was poisoned in or very close to the London sushi bar, where he met Mario Scaramella.

Russian Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, said Scotland Yard hasn't approached Russia to answer any questions.

“Let me stress it again. We do not understand why the course of the investigation is mentioned all the time and why it is said that there are some questions for the Russian side to answer. They have presented no questions so far. And Margaret Beckett told me that today. Moreover, when I asked her if I could mention this in public she said yes, that would be fine. So, it is all up to the British investigators. As soon as we receive their questions we'll start answering them,” Mr Lavrov said.

Meanwhile 2 British Airways planes are being checked for radiation levels, as part of the widening probe into Mr Litvinenko's death.

One of the aircraft currently in Moscow has been allowed by the UK authorities to be flown to London.