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29 Dec, 2006 02:00

New twist in Litvinenko’s case

New twist in Litvinenko’s case

British authorities are searching for a businessman who accompanied to London Dmitry Kovtun – one of the last persons to see murdered ex-officer of Russian security service Aleksandr Litvinenko.

The British Newspaper, The Times reports that UK authorities are trying to track down a Russian businessman believed to have accompanied Dmitry Kovtun to London. Kovtun was one of the last people to see Litvinenko, a former Russian security agent, before he fell ill. The businessman was spotted on CCTV footage from airports in Hamburg and London, though his name doesn't appear on any hotel registers in London. 

Meanwhile, British health authorities say that ten people, including the Millenium Hotel staff in London, have tested positive for low-level traces of polonium, the substance that killed Litvinenko. Their lives are said to be not at risk.  

In Italy, Litvinenko's contact Mario Scaramella is now in custody, charged with slander. Scaramella denies the allegations. He was arrested on Sunday reportedly not in connection with the death of Litvinenko. The Italian media reports that he has fabricated stories that there have been threats against his life in order to gain credit and become a member of the Italian security services. 

Scaramella met with the former Russian security agent in London on the day the latter fell ill. According to Scaremella, the meeting was to show Litvinenko e-mails from a confidential source identifying the possible killers of Anna Politkovskaya and a potential ‘hit list’ on which both Scaramella and Litvinenko were targets.  

Scaramella says he didn’t eat the day he met with Ltivnenko but did fall ill from radiation poisoning, although he showed no symptoms.

Meanwhile, Russia wants to question the exiled business tycoon Boris Berezovsky in relation to the case. Russian General Prosecutor's office announced it has filed a formal request to the Crown Prosecution Service of Great Britain.