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11 Jul, 2008 07:11

London rejects BBC Litvinenko allegations

The British government has stated that no intelligence or security officials are authorised to comment on the Litvinenko case. On Monday the BBC claimed British security services had found a link between the death of Aleksandr Litvinenko and the Russian s

Former Russian security officer Litvinenko died in London in November 2006 after being poisoned by Polonium-210. British investigators named businessman Andrey Lugovoy as the main suspect in the crime and requested his extradition. Russia refused and suggested holding a trial on Russian soil. There’s been a state of deadlock ever since.

A programme on the Litvinenko case aired by the BBC cited an unnamed intelligence insider as saying investigators believed the murder was a “state action”.

It also said there was a similarity to the alleged plot to assassinate Boris Berezovsky. In July 2007 media reported a Russian man, who’d been plotting to kill the exiled businessman, was detained and expelled from Britain.

The Russian ambassador to London said Russia wanted official comments from the Downing Street on the allegations.

A government spokesperson, quoted in the FinancialTimes, said the British position hadn’t changed: “The police and the Crown Prosecution Service have identified one individual as the individual they believe should stand trial for this murder,” adding the demand for extradition of Lugovoy for trial stands firm.

Earlier at the G8 summit in Japan the case was discussed by Gordon Brown and Dmitry Medvedev. The British Prime Minister said the issue would not be closed: “We have justice to do on the part of someone who was murdered on British soil and it is not an acceptable position to be where we are,” he said.