Litvinenko inquiry ‘theatre of the absurd’

A top Russian official denies any involvement in poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko

Former Russian security agent Alexander Litvinenko  died of polonium-210 poisoning in 2006. Photograph: PA

Former Russian security agent Alexander Litvinenko died of polonium-210 poisoning in 2006. Photograph: PA

 

A leading Russian official implicated in the radioactive poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko has denied any involvement in the crime, calling the inquiry into the Russian’s death in London a “theatre of the absurd”.

Lawyers for Litvinenko’s widow, Marina, alleged Viktor Ivanov, head of Russia’s powerful anti-drugs agency and a long-time associate of President Vladimir Putin, could have ordered the hit.

The inquiry’s report, due to be released this morning, almost 10 years after Litvinenko died of polonium-210 poisoning in 2006, is expected to find the Russian state carried out the assassination.

The court heard evidence that Andrei Lugovoi, a former KGB agent and now a Russian MP, and Dmitry Kovtun killed Litvinenko. But the question of who exactly in the Russian government gave the order is harder to answer.

Speaking from Moscow, Mr Ivanov said the six-month inquiry was a “well-crafted political order”.

“It’s lies from start to finish”, he said.

He admitted, however, that his deputy, Nikolai Aulov, had been in regular contact with Gennady Petrov, a top Russian mafia boss living in Spain.

– (Guardian service)