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30 Aug, 2007 01:32

Lugovoy's claims fall on deaf ears

There has been muted reaction from the UK media after Andrey Lugovoy said at a briefing that the UK government and special services are lying in order to implicate him in the murder of Aleksandr Litvinenko.

Lugovoy says he will never return to Britain to face trial.

No front-page stories have followed. What is being said in Britain is that Andrey Lugovoy condemns the British government and rejects the UK’s accusations.  

Three months after their press conference with Russian journalists, Andrey Lugovoy and Dmitry Kovtun, his business partner, who is involved in the Litvinenko case as a witness, have spoken out again; this time to foreign media via a video link with London.

To answer your question if I killed Litvinenko, the answer is no, I did not. The British don’t have any evidence, it’s all a pack of lies invented by the British government and special services.

Andrey Lugovoy

To read their full transcript, please follow the link.

Businessman Andrey Lugovoy set out his own rules:  

“The British media actions toward us and Russia in general were incorrect and one-sided. All our requests to go public were ignored. We explained our angle of the story: what happened and how the British prosecution conducted their so-called investigation. But it was interpreted in other ways. So we have even more questions for the British media than they do for us,” he highlighted.  

The news conference came days after Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika said London had provided no sufficient grounds to prove Lugovoy's guilt in Litvinenko’s death.

The UK Crown Prosecution Service says it has enough evidence to charge Lugovoy with murder and wants him to stand trial in a British court.

Moscow’s July refusal to extradite him sparked a diplomatic row with London and unleashed tit-for-tat expulsions of diplomats. Andrey Lugovoy says the case has become political.

“To answer your question if I killed Litvinenko, the answer is no, I did not. The British don’t have any evidence, it’s all a pack of lies invented by the British government and special services,” the businessman stressed.  

Back in May Andrey Lugovoy said that either British MI6, the Russian mafia or the prominent tycoon in exile Boris Berezovsky were behind the killing.

Now he strongly hints at a possible connection between Berezovsky, the murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya and Aleksandr Litvinenko. The suspect turned accuser as he condemned the handling of the case by British authorities and told British media to get their facts right.

“Some criminals, speculators and swindlers who are hiding behind British justice are using this whole situation to discredit Russia. Here I mean Berezovsky and his sidekicks as well as some high-ranking British officials like Lord Bell who’s conducting a PR campaign against Russia using Berezovsky’s money. They say the fourth estate is the media; in Britain they have the fifth which is Berezovsky,” Mr Lugovoy stated.

The Russian Prosecutor General says new requests on the Litvinenko investigation will be filed soon with the British officials.

It was supposed to be a question and answer session of the foreign media with Andrey Lugovoy. Instead, he turned it into a battle of words lashing out at the British media and the British authorities and making it clear that he continues to maintain his innocence.

Follow the link to read the post in the blog of the RT political commentator Peter Lavelle on the press-conference of Kovtun&Lugovoy.