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More contaminated venues disclosed in Litvinenko case

The Times newspaper has named four new places in London that were contaminated with Polonium-210. The radioactive element was used in the poisoning of the former Russian security officer Aleksandr Litvinenko.

It is a case that has rocked relations between Moscow and London and ten months on it's still causing a stir. 

In November last year the former Russian security officer Aleksandr Litvinenko was killed by a deadly dose of polonium-210. Britain has a chief suspect, a Russian that Russia is refusing to hand over.

The nuclear killing left a trail throughout Europe, but now it seems that trail is wider than first thought, with four previously undisclosed sites now in the public domain.

Aleksandr Litvinenko
Aleksandr Litvinenko

A club in central London, Hey Jo, has been named as one of the polonium hot spots. But far from being worried, the eccentric club owner Dave West has taken the police investigation in his stride.

“It was 7 weeks after the event, they came and tested. The traces they found were so weak that they allowed us to open almost immediately afterwards,” says Dave West.

Police say a cushion, a seat and a cubicle door at the club were contaminated. Of course the area has since been de-contaminated. And staff say they are open for business as usual. Mr West says his venue is already popular among Russian businessmen, so much that he has switched on Russia Today TV throughout the club.

And he believes being a part of the polonium trail may not be as fatal as it might seem. In fact he may use it to his advantage, tuning his club into a tourist attraction. 

So this venue now joins the 15 contaminated sites previously released into the public domain, including the now infamous Millennium Hotel and the Itsu Sushi bar.

Meanwhile, Westminster City Council, which has publicised Hey Jo as an affected site, explains why it waited until now to release its findings.

“Work has been going on since November in terms of clearing up the sites. And now we have released the other venue names. At this time we can tell the whole story of the incident,” said John Barradell from Westminster City Council.

The Council is passing it’s findings on to the British Government, along with some guidance on how to deal with any Litvinenko-type contamination crisis in the future.