Russia files case on espionage activity

Russia's Federal Security Service has said a criminal case into espionage activity has been launched after an examination of a statement, made recently by Russian businessman Andrey Lugovoy who said British intelligence tried to recruit him.

“On June 14, 2007, the Investigation Department of the Russian Federal Security Service opened a criminal case based on espionage charges after the inquiry into Lugovoy’s statement,” said Sergey Ignatenko, Federal Security Service spokesman.

The statement was made by Mr Lugovoy at a press conference at the end of May, right after the British Crown Prosecution service said they had received enough evidence to charge him with the murder of Aleksandr Litvinenko. Andrey Lugovoy said British intelligence made an attempt to recruit him in order to gather compromising information on the Russian President.

Meanwhile, Interfax news agency quotes a representative of the British Embassy in Moscow as saying London sees the investigation into the death of Aleksandr Litvinenko as a criminal, not an intelligence case.

Aleksandr Litvinenko, Russian ex-security officer, died in London in November last year after being poisoned by a lethal dose of polonium 210.

Mr Lugovoy denied the accusations and said the British special services are trying to make him a scapegoat in the case.