Was it an assassination or suicide? If an assassination, who had the most to gain from Litvinenko’s death?
Britain’s intelligence agencies last night claimed that the poisoning of the Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko bore the hallmarks of a “state-sponsored” assassination.
A senior Whitehall official told The Times that confirmation that the former Russian spy, who had become a British citizen, had been poisoned with radioactive polonium-210 and other evidence so far not released pointed to the murder being carried out by foreign agents.
Cobra, the Cabinet’s emergency security committee, met yesterday after toxicologists confirmed that the 43-year-old former KGB colonel had a large dose of alpha radiation in his body. The committee chaired by John Reid, the Home Secretary, considered the risk to the public after the discovery of radioactive material in a Central London sushi bar and at the Millennium Hotel, near the US embassy in Grosvenor Square, where Mr Litvinenko held meetings on November 1. Radioactive traces were also found at his family home in Muswell Hill, North London.
The quantity of polonium-210 used could only have been obtained from a nuclear instillation, scientific experts said.
Security sources said that MI5 and MI6 were engaged in a “joint enterprise” with Scotland Yard in what was “an unprecedented death” in Britain. Anti-terror squad detectives refused to say where the deadly element was placed, or in what quantities they found it at the Itsu sushi bar in Piccadilly or the Pine Bar of the Millennium Hotel, where the dissident met two Russians on November 1.
Mr Putin interrupted preparations for an EU/Russia summit in Helsinki to deny involvement. He criticised Mr Litvinenko’s entourage, the media, the British secret service and even the Italian Mafia. He claimed that the letter accusing him of being “barbaric and ruthless” was a forgery concocted by Mr Litvinenko’s wife and father: “If this note was produced before the death of Mr Litvinenko, I wonder why it was not published when he was alive?”
COMMENTS FROM THE OLD HC BLOG:
“quantity of polonium-210 used could only have been obtained from a nuclear installation”
As far as I know, one can buy about 10% of lethal dose of Po-210 online for $30-70. I therefore doubt taht a nuclear reactor is necessary. More likely, KGB used a credit card.
Interesting 🙂 thanks for that insight.
The plot thickens with a connection to Israeli ex Yukos CEO Nevlin. Nevlin is wanted by the Russian authorities.
“Mr Lugovoi said there was no Vladimir at the meeting, which he said lasted between 20 minutes and half an hour. He identified the second Russian as Dmitry Kovtun, a business associate whom he said he had introduced to Mr Litvinenko the previous month.”
“Dmitry Kovtun, Managing Partner, is responsible for business development, company strategy and marketing. Prior to joining VFBS Dmitry worked at Gazprom and the Alfa Group.”
More about Nevzlin:
About Litvinenko’s career:
“By 1997 his department, ostensibly in charge of the fight against organised crime, was, in his words, “responsible for illegal punishments or so-called extra-legal executions of “unsuitable” businessmen, politicians and other public figures. In parallel, the department blackmailed the same targets for funds.””
xcellent commentary and revelations here:
Berezovsky in the past has implicated himself as desiring the overthrow of the democratically elected Russian government by force.
“Mr Berezovsky, as we all know, is Machiavelli’s Prince in living form, a notorious manipulator who once pulled the strings at the Kremlin.”
Scaramella is a shadowy character whose previous pronouncements have proved unreliable and odd.
“The finger of blame has been pointed at the Russian government without a shred of evidence and when there are other parties who wish to see regime change in that country who might possess the means, motives and willing candidates to mount a risky smear campaign against Vladimir Putin.
A carefully orchestrated public relations campaign appears to have taken place, with the assistance of one the UK’s leading PR men; a man who appears to have had a long and close association with a person who wishes the democratically elected government of a friendly foreign power overthrown by force.”
“Mr Scaramella, who is involved in an Italian parliamentary inquiry into Russian secret service activity, said they met because he wanted to discuss an e-mail he had received.”
“By the same token Scaramella presumably had no access either to Litvinenko’s home or to the hotel where he met Lugovoi.
Of course neither might be ruled out as members of a conspiracy – but that’s a slightly different thing from being a poisoner.
Which leaves the question – who did have access to Litvinenko’s home? And to the sushi bar? And to the hotel? ”
Berezovsky owned the house in which Litvinenko lived.
“There are few trails which do not lead back to Mr. Berezovsky. The 60 year old- who is wanted in Russia on charges of fraud – finances a number of Russian factions who want Mr. Putin out of the Kremlin.
Nowhere is this more evident than in a quiet, residential street in North London.
On one side of the road is the Â£500,000 Litvinenko family home, where the former KGB man lives with his wife and 12 year old son.
Almost opposite is the Â£700,000 home of Akhmed Zakayev, who was one deputy prime minister of Chechnya and has been granted political asylum here.
Zakayev and Litvinenko would once have been deadly enemies but now, united in opposition to Mr. Putin, they are close friends.
The Land Registry shows that both their homes are owned by companies based in the British Virgin Islands – both of which are believed to be controlled by Mr. Berezovsky, who has much to gain by their occupants’ anti-Putin stance.
He gains, too, from the claims that Mr. Putin tried to kill Mr. Litvinenko. To gain maximum benefit, Mr. Berezovsky has hired Margaret Thatcher’s former chief spin doctor Lord Bell to handle the publicity.”
Another involved fellow:
“And the ubiquitous Alex Goldfarb, so often described as Litvinenko’s ‘close friend’, is in fact the chairman of Berezovsky’s Civil Liberties Foundation (I would post a direct link to its website, but I can’t find one), who once indicated that he was ‘not sick and tired of being Berezovsky’s right hand’.”
Then there’s the Bush connection:
“Oddly one cannot find any reference to any comment from either Berezovsky, Goldfarb or Litvinenko in relation to Berezovsky’s having been declared persona non grata in Latvia after he visited the country – allegedly as a ‘business adviser’ to Ignite Learning, the educational software company run by Neil Bush; brother of George W. of that ilk.”
“On January 26 2006, Agence France Presse quoted Boris Berezovsky as follows –
“President Putin violates the constitution and any violent action onthe opposition’s part is justified today, and that includes takingpower by force, which is exactly what I am working at,” the oligarch, looking vibrant despite five years in self-imposed exile, told AFPat his Piccadilly office.
For the past 18 months, “we have been preparing to take power by force in Russia,” he said, claiming he would finance this with a fortune that had “tripled” over the last five years to billions of dollars.”
There is no reason why this man’s claim to be planning the overthrow of a friendly foreign power’s democratically elected government should not be taken seriously.
He might have much to gain by smearing Vladimir Putin for having ordered the attack on Alexander Litvinenko.
At the very least his asylum status should be reviewed.
And one must ask – given their closeness to Berezovsky, have Goldfarb, who appears to be an American citizen, Litvinenko, now a British citizen, and Zakayev, like Berezovsky a recipient of the United Kingdom’s asylum, all been aware of and perhaps involved in his parapolitical plans?”
“Until recently, news stories about the international backers for Neil Bush’s firm Ignite! have focused on Taiwanese businessmen, and Middle East billionaires, such as Defense Minister and Crown Prince of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum. But it was a surprise to learn in September 2005 that “Exiled Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky was in Riga along with Neil Bush, the brother of the U.S. president, to discuss an educational project with Latvian businessmen.” In an interview with Interfax, “Berezovsky pointed out that he is one of the shareholders of Ignite! Inc., an educational software company. U.S. President George W. Bush’s brother Neil Bush is the company’s chairman and chief executive.””
“Much remains to be learned about Far West, Ltd., its personnel, and the American firm which co-founded it. Reportedly it was founded in 1998; and already had Surikov and Saidov as directors when they attended the meeting in Khashoggi’s villa in July 1999.
I suspect myself that the meeting did indeed have to do with destabilizing Russia, as Dunlop claimed. But I believe also that the group at the meeting was more concerned with facilitating drug-trafficking than with strengthening the Kremlin. I believe further that they also discussed the Russian presence in Kosovo, and the imminent increase in the flow of Afghan drugs through Kosovo.”
“Georgian tycoon, close associate of Boris Berezovskii. Cf. Klebnikov, Godfather of the Kremlin, 262: “Often Berezovskii acted in Chechnya through Badri Patarkatsishvili, the Logovaz partner who, according to the Russian security services, had long served as the company’s primary intermediary with organized crime groups.” Klebnikov reports (161, cf. 331) that Moscow police heard in early 1995 from a gangster that “he had been approached by Berezovsky’s aide, Badri, with a contract for Listyev’s assassination.” (In February 1995 Listyev, the director of Russia’s most important TV network ORT, was shot dead in his apartment building.)”
“Forum.msk.ru belongs to a group of former officers and agents of the Soviet military intelligence (GRU) whose leader is said to be Ret. Leutenant-Colonel Vladimir Ilyich Filin. The group’s business face is the “consulting” agency Far West, LLC (formerly Far West, Ltd). It controls a number of periodicals, including the “nationalist” weekly Zavtra (chief editor Alexander Prokhanov) and the Moscow Institute for Globalization Studies whose director is the prominent Russian leftist Boris Kagarlitsky. In the last three years this group, which also includes the former Luthunian defense minister Audrius Butkevicius, has been alleged in press to be an organized criminal society, involved in narcotrafficking, illegal arms trade, ties with Western and Saudi intelligence, and subversive activities against Russia. The main sources of these allegations were the former officer of Ukrainian military intelligence (GUR) Sergei Petrov (aka Serge Rodin) and the officer of Russian military counterintelligence Armen Sarkisian who in the spring of 2005 provided over fifty pages of information on the activities and the background of the group’s leaders to the investigative group burtsev.ru. Petrov was killed in South Africa in January 2004. Sarkisian was killed and his counterintelligence unit dissolved in July 2005. Since then several anonymous author(s) have occasionally used forum.msk.ru to post bits of information on the activities of Filin’s group. The internal evidence of this information suggests that it may come from some elements in Russian secret services or/and the group’s competitors.”
Putin does not benefit. Boris Abramovich Berezovsky does and so does Israel, which has been itching to unleash American firepower on Iran, and has only been held back by Putin.
What evidence is there that Putin has done anything illegal? None. In fact Putin has stood up for the law – international law – when Britain and its master the US rode roughshod over it, the end result of which has been the utter destruction and disintegration of the most advanced Arab state, 650,000 of whose citizens have been murdered by the Western criminals who have the chutzpah to stand in judgment over Russia without a shred of evidence.
Now let’s talk about Boris Berezovsky and his top – and now mercifully dead – henchman Alex Litvinenko. Forbes magazine’s Moscow editor Paul Klebnikov, the world’s leading expert on Yeltsin-era Russian robber barons like Berezovsky, wrote a book called GODFATHER OF THE KREMLIN: Boris Berezovsky and the Looting of Russia. Klebnikov described how Berezovsky colluded with the Chechen mafia to take control of the capital and the Yeltsin government, sometimes fighting street battles with the Russian mafia alliance trying to drive the Chechens out.
He showed how Berezovsky helped start the second Chechen war by financing Basayev’s wahhabi terrorist army through a money-for-hostages deal inspired by Ollie North’s shenanigans with Iran and Hezbollah.
Litvinenko was Putin’s appointee to the FSB directorate charged with preventing the infiltration of mafiosi like Berezovsky into Russian intelligence. Litvinenko instead ensured that Berezovsky had full access to the FSB, and finally resigned when his cover was blown, immediately afterward becoming Berezovsky’s employee.
Berezovsky was at that time trying to acquire complete control of Russia’s Channel One TV station to complete his full-spectrum supremacy over Russian media. One man, ORT’s (Channel One) director and popular anchorman Vlad Listyev, stood against him. Berezovsky had him shot. Litvinenko then became “head of security” at ORT.
Paul Klebnikov, the Forbes aditor, was painstakingly gathering the facts about this latest crime of the mafia boss Berezovsky when he too was shot.
The Chechen warlord who ordered his murder – by Chechen hit men – was a former Chechen mafia leader-turned-terrorist who had worked for Berezovsky as a “security chief” and as a manager of one of his car dealerships.
Litvinenko was the guy that Berezovsky recruited from the FSB so that he wouldn’t have to call the Chechen slimebags and haggle over the hit contracts himself.”
“Mikhail Chernoy’s brother Lev has been a prime target of the Swiss investigation into the Russian Mafiya since he attempted to take over the Russian aluminum industryâ€”allegedly with the assistance of Marc Rich. Also, according to Robinson, Swiss investigators believe that Lev Chernoy has ties with the Mega-linked “Russian oligarch” Boris Berezovsky, who is accused of siphoning $200 million in hard currency out of Aeroflot accounts and into Switzerland. Both Chernoy and Berezovsky are suspected of involvement with the Bank of New York, which laundered billions of dollars in hard currency and state assets out of the Soviet Union during the early 1990s. According to Robinson, the person behind many of these murky deals was Likud campaign contributor Grigori Loutchansky. A recent international law enforcement probe of the Bank of New York operations has turned up evidence that Marc Rich was a silent partner of Loutchansky’s in the Nordex operations, which started out as a KGB money-laundering front in the late 1980s.”
“Interpol Unblocks Warrants
23rd May 2006
The Associated Press
PARIS – Interpol has backed Russian arrest warrants for self-exiled tycoon Boris Berezovsky and several other criminal suspects wanted in Russia, Itar-Tass reported.
Deputy Interior Minister Andrei Novikov said Interpolâ€™s move would provide Russia with â€œadditional arguments for nations giving shelter to those who are being sought,â€ Itar-Tass reported late Thursday.
An official at Interpol’s Paris headquarters said in a telephone interview that the agency had just ended the legal review of its so-called â€œred noticesâ€ related to Russia – Interpol notifications to member countries that the country in question has issued an arrest warrant.
The legal review of the notices, conducted following a legal challenge, has concluded that there are no problems with them, said the Interpol official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
He said that the hold on the notices was therefore lifted. The official would not say on what basis the Russian warrants had been challenged.
Itar-Tass said the Interpol red notices referred to Berezovsky, his associate Yuly Dubov, Yukos shareholder Leonid Nevzlin, Yukos chief legal expert Mikhail Gololobov and Menatep bank department head Natalya Chernysheva.”
The media is painting Putin black – no mention that Nevzlin has been wanted by Interpol in today’s Times story.
“A dossier drawn up by Alexander Litvinenko on the Kremlin’s takeover of the world’s richest energy giant will be given to Scotland Yard today as police investigate the former KGB spy’s secret dealings with some of Russia’s richest men.
It emerged yesterday that Mr Litvinenko travelled to Israel just weeks before he died to hand over evidence to a Russian billionaire of how agents working for President Putin dealt with his enemies running the Yukos oil company.
He passed this information to Leonid Nevzlin, the former second-in-command of Yukos, who fled to Tel Aviv in fear for his life after the Kremlin seized and then sold off the $40 billion (Â£21 billion) company.
Mr Nevzlin told The Times that it was his “duty” to pass on the file. “Alexander had information on crimes committed with the Russian Government’s direct participation,” he said.
“He only recently gave me and my attorneys documents that shed light on the most significant aspects of the Yukos affair.”
Investigators have told The Times that Mr Litvinenko had apparently uncovered â€œstartlingâ€ new material about the Yukos affair and what happened to those opposing the forced break-up of the company.
Several figures linked with Yukos are reported to have disappeared or died in mysterious circumstances while its head, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and others have been jailed.
Originally it was Mr Litvinenko’s vocal opposition to President Putin’s rule that led to accusations of Russia’s secret service involvement in his death, but police are investigating whether he made enemies through his links with a number of oligarchs.
Detectives involved in what they admit is one of the most complicated inquiries Scotland Yard has faced say that they are working through Mr Litvinenko’s formidable list of friends and foes, which includes some of the world’s wealthiest men.
One figure close to the investigation said: :At present we have a bewildering number of theories and names put to us, and we must establish some firm evidence.”
Does Litvinenko’s death give Berezovsky & Nevzlin an opportunity to exonerate themselves? How will the police authenticate the documents given to them by Nevzlin?
Planted, accidental, or a definite clue to the villain?
“Detectives have found traces of polonium 210 at the London offices of the exiled Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, it was revealed last night.
Sources confirmed that traces of polonium 210 had been found at the address. Mr Berezovsky, an outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin, refused to comment yesterday on the revelations. “I don’t want to comment anything about it,” he told the Guardian. “I don’t know anything about police at my office.””
First he wasn’t, and now he is.
More info on this colourful individual here:
Make sure to read the comments in the above link – lots of tasty stuff about Litvinenko’s past.
It’s looking more and more to me like a Russian mafia plot set up to discredit Putin.
Lots of motives and lots of characters with shadowy track records of fraud and murder.
“Why Litvinenko is being called a “spy”? NPR today also used “spy”. He was working as investigator in Organized Crime Division of FSB (same as FBI investigator in the US context) where he got via the prison guard service.
At some point he seemed to realize that his career in FSB was over, as, among other things, he was under Internal Affairs investigation for beating and torture of detainees, warrantless searches and explosive trafficking allegations. That’s when he participated in political combination of Berezovsky, who at that time was one of the people effectively running the country. Berezovsky was concerned that some of the branches of the government were not enough under his control and manufactured a scandal that should have brought FSB in line.
Litvinenko and few of his fellow officers called the press conference alledging that his FSB management ordered a hit on Berezovsky. Since then courts recognized his allegations as false, but the end result was that after Berezovsky’s talk with Yeltsin Organized Crime Division was disbanded and FSB got a new head (Putin, then little known).
Litvinenko got his 1 million $ for this press conference (as alledged by the officers who participated in this conference with him), was arrested following Internal Affairs investigation results and the moment he was released left for UK, where he got political (???) asylum. Courts eventually recognized him as guilty but free on probation, so at the moment he is not even wanted in Russia.
I really doubt that he was a “friend” of Politkovskaya, and contrary to NPR reporting, Goldfarb is also not a “friend”, but a trobleshooter lawer for Berezovsky and also the source of this story and few of the stories below.
BTW, poison and conract hits, real or imagined, keeps poping up quite regulary around Berezovsky.
Allegation of imminent poisoning of Berezovsky by (you guessed it) FSB was one of reasons UK courts decided not to extradite Berezovsky to Russia in 2003; “Evidence” was provided by Litvinenko. I’m wondering how dependant Berezovsky’s de-facto immunity from prosecution on what Litvinenko done or knows.
In the same 2003 Berezovsky and Litvinenko “stopped” contract hit on Putin. Alleged would be killers were convwniently some of the same officers that participated with Litvinenko in that press conference back in Russia. They were arrested by UK law enforcement, refused (as I understand, regular in such cases in UK) political asylum and went back to Russia.
Politkovskaya was “poisoned” in 2004, too;
Yushenko was poisoned when Berezovsky became interested in his campaign. 2 years later and Yushenko being the president, the crime (?) still not solved.
Anyone remembers story of presidential run by Ivan Rybkin? The guy was scared to hell, and did not look like it was due to FSB or Putin.”
“Italian reports said that Mr Scaramella had made regular visits to the FSB in Moscow and was a close associate of Viktor Kolmogorov, deputy head of the FSB.
Mr Scaramella claims that his Moscow visits were connected to his work for the Mitrokhin Commission, and that far from working for the FSB he is as much a potential target as Mr Litvinenko.”
“The shoot out in March 2004 had hilarious developments for Guzzanti’s ridiculous Mitrokhin commission. Scaramella, a self-styled “professor” later claimed that he was actually checking out an antenna which he alleged was to be used by the evil Ruskies to contaminate the Bay of Naples by setting off a dozen atomic weapons (apparently without a nuclear explosion) that had been dumped there by a Russian submarine. Supposedly this event would be blamed on the NATO. The Russians thought the accusations were a bad joke.
The four camorra members involved in the shoot out were actually involved in transporting weapons. They did not shoot at Scaramella to take him out but apparently shot at the two penitentiary cops who were there to meet Scaramella for reasons as yet unknown. One of the members of the camorra was wounded and quickly arrested. The arms were sequestered.
As far as the Mitrokhin Commission goes, what can I say. You can download the audiences on the parliament’s site and sit back for riotous laughing. Guzzanti is best known for having sired the two comics and political satirists, Sabina and Paolo. He does his best to compete with them but is basically a hallucinated psychotic with a strong tendency to go into fits of obscenity. It’s no wonder he’s a senator for Berlusconi’s personal political entity.
As for Scaramella, he is along the lines of Rocco Martino (Niger forgeries) and Igor Marini (Telekom Serbija), con artists that work around the secret services. He has a track record of putting together unsubstantiated claims of Russian nuclear weapons traffic. Thanks to Guzzanti his claims end up in the papers as the usual scare tactics.”
“Security analyst Glenmore Trenear-Harvey, who met Mr Litvinenko several times, said the media focus on the Kremlin was “lazy” and bore the hallmarks of a John Le Carre novel.
“We have to put this in a historical context,” he said.
“Litvinenko’s last job within the FSB was heading up the anti-corruption unit and he discovered a lot of corruption there and made a lot of enemies within the KGB.”
When Yeltsin broke the KGB into different agencies such as the FSB and the SVR, the majority of its members stayed on but some went into the Duma and a third group went into legitimate business, he said.
But a “murky bunch” went into what was known as the Russian mafia.
“My own belief, and this is speculation, is that it’s not inconceivable that Anna Politkovskaya in her search for murderers within the Russian bank system discovered the contract killings were these former KGB people.
“She was killed and if Litvinenko indeed was privy to her investigations then it could well be that they will emerge as his killers.”
Although the sophisticated nature of the poison suggested it could have come from the state, there was no motive, he said.
The case has caused huge interest in the UK
“There was no benefit to Putin or Russian intelligence services to have a highly publicised operation like this.”
“Since 1995, the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has maintained a database on the illicit trafficking of nuclear and radioactive materials.
As of last year, the database contained 827 confirmed incidents. Of these, 224 incidents involved nuclear materials and 516 involved radioactive materials.
The IAEA said it had not received confirmation of polonium finding its way into this underground market, but there have been a number of unconfirmed reports.”
Maybe as you say the clumsy footprints left by the material were intentional. Yet if I were Miss Marple, I would be casting a very close eye over Berezovsky (Litvinenko’s landlord and long time associate with a very shady past and plenty of motive and contaminated) and Nevzlin (associate of Berezovsky, also with plenty of motive). I would also be asking how Scaramella (associate of Berezovsky) had become contaminated.
“British health authorities and the police have said polonium 210 cannot be transmitted through the skin and is not harmful unless it is swallowed, breathed in or passed through an open wound.”
Curiouser and curiouser.
Scaramella’s lawyer said that since his client was poisoned, he could not be a suspect.
Yet now it seems he hasn’t had a toxic dose.
“La Repubblica yesterday published interviews that it conducted last year with Mr Litvinenko and Evgeny Limarev, another former Russian intelligence officer, in which both men claimed that Mr Scaramella used his status within the commission to run a shadowy parallel intelligence operation with right-wing aims.”
Limarev was the source of the hit list email – the discussion of which was the purpose of the sushi bar lunch.
And there’s a Cheney connection to Scaramella:
“[La Repubblica Nov. 26-27]
A CHENEY CONNECTION EMERGES IN THE LITVINENKO CASE.
Yevgeni Limarev, a former FSB official whom Mario Scaramella indicated was his source for the story that Litvinenko was on an FSB hit list, gave an interview to Italy’s La Repubblica denying Scaramella’s version and adding a few elements on Scaramella’s networks.
Scaramella, Limarev says, has boasted connections to U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney.
Scaramella works for the Washington-based Environmental Crime Prevention Program (ECPP), which, according to Limarev, “has institutional support in military intelligence.”
Limarev reports that Scaramella told him that
“they could rely on Dick Cheney’s team at the White House.”
“It is enough for you to know, Mario and [Italian parliament Mytrokhin committee head] Guzzanti told me, that behind the ECPP there are Italians and Americans, for security reasons. Once in a while, they talked, in my presence, about Dick Cheney, but I never saw Cheney papers.
“They explained to me that ECPP acts officially as an environmental protection agency, and a section of non-official activities whose organizational level does not include offices, base, protocols, etc., financed with tens of million dollars partially in Italy (through the Carabinieri environmental protection fund, they told me once) and partially through the Republic of San Marino-based holding, Finbroker.”
Through the ECPP, Scaramella tried to involve both Limarev and Litvinenko into fabricating dossiers against Italian anti-war politicians, which were channelled to the Parliament Mytrokhin investigating committee.
Limarev mentions Prime Minister Romano Prodi and current Foreign Minister Massimo D’Alema as top targets,
but the list includes also several leaders of the PdCI, Rifondazione, and Green parties.
Scaramella tried to get from both Litvinenko and Limarev dossiers proving that these politicians had been KGB agents.
Allegedly, when Litvinenko and Limarev realized that Scaramella and his boss Guzzanti were not interested in harming Putin, they withdrew their collaboration.”
“International ‘security consultant’ Mario Scaramella, who joined Litvinenko for the now infamous clandestine meeting in a London sushi bar, headed an organisation which tracked dumped nuclear waste, including Soviet nuclear missiles left over from the Cold War.
and even more background on Litvinenko’s recent activities
“Alexander Litvinenko may have been killed after a deal that went wrong with associates involved in the ruthless world of Russian business.
According to security sources, investigators are looking at the former spyâ€™s dealings with Russian businessmen involved in the lucrative energy sector and the shadowy world of private security. â€œWe are looking at a very long list of Mr Litvinenkoâ€™s friends and foes since he has been in London,â€ one source said.
The list includes exotic figures ranging from billionaire businessmen, former Kremlin spies and KGB agents to underworld bosses.
In the six years that he was in Britain, Litvinenko appeared to have acquired a formidable collection of friends and enemies. Although he described himself as a journalist, Litvinenko tried unsuccessfully to muscle in on several lucrative business deals with Russians.
On the day that he fell ill he was attempting to broker a gas and oil exploration deal involving a British conglomerate that he claimed to represent. He was envious of the money that many of his former colleagues were making.
He also had talks about providing trained personal protection guards recruited from Russia, and claimed to represent a number of British interests wanting bilateral deals with Russian investors.
Police will look at investigations that his friends say he claimed to be involved in at the time of his death, including smuggling rings for nuclear material and prostitutes.”
[Corriere della Sera, wires Nov. 29]
ITALIAN PARLIAMENT COMMITTEE TO INVESTIGATE LITVINENKO-SCARAMELLA CONNECTION.
The Parliament Intelligence Oversight Committee (Copaco) has announced hearings with Interior Minister Giuliano
Amato and Scaramella’s boss, Sen. Paolo Guzzanti, for next week, to “make clarity on a story which has assumed
grotesque aspects,” said Copaco chairman Claudio Scajola.
The Committee wants to find out the truth about the “permanent working group” led by Mario Scaramella and
Guzzanti under the cover of the former Mytrokhin Parliament Investigating Committee.
As reported by former FSB official Yevgeni Limarev in a newspaper interview, Scaramella and Guzzanti boasted of
having ties to Dick Cheney.
In the meantime, Scaramella has again been accused of being the person who poisoned Litvinenko.
Yuri Felshtinsky, co-author of Litvinenko’s book “Blowing up Russia”, told the Sun:
“When I talked to Alexander around 12 November about who poisoned him … he was sure at this time it was
Mario. He was telling me that he was in a scheme.”
Scaramella was interrogated in London on Wednesday as a witness by Scotland Yard and found to be not
[Source: Ha’aretz, Nov.25,2006]
ALEXANDER LITVINENKO WAS IN ISRAEL SEVERAL MONTHS AGO WHERE HE MET EXILED RUSSIAN OLIGARCH LEONID NEVZLIN.
Nevzlin was a shareholder in the Yukos oil company and is wanted in Russia for tax evasion, budget
irregularities, and for connection to the murder of the mayor of a Siberian town.
Nevzlin claims Litvinenko gave him documents containing classified information possibly damaging to the
leadership in Russia.
He claims he turned the documents over to the British Metropolitan Police.
[Source: Russian and other media]
Nov. 30–GAIDAR’S ILLNESS FEEDS FRENZY OVER POISONINGS.
Former Russian Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar, the radical liberal economist who presided over “shock therapy” in
the early 1990s, collapsed during a conference presentation in Ireland last Friday, Nov. 24.
Hospitalized in intensive care in Dublin, after vomiting blood, Gaidar was then flown to Moscow and is being
treated at an undisclosed hospital.
While the Irish hospital initially put out that his symptoms appeared to be related to diabetes, today Gaidar’s
press secretary said that doctors consider them the result of poisoning by an “unnatural” substance, i.e., not
Media rushed to make connecto links to the Litvinenko case, insofar as ex-KGB man Lugovoy, who met Litvinenko
in early November, was Gaidar’s former security chief. But, no official diagnosis of Gaidar’s condition has
Yesterday, he was well enough to take a phone call from President Vladimir Putin.
Anatoli Chubais, Gaidar’s political ally (though on good terms with Putin, as CEO of the national power
company), said yesterday that Gaidar had nearly died, according to RIA Novosti.
He suggested that the incident was part of an attack on the regime, saying that, “The deadly triangle —
Politkovskaya, Litvinenko, and Gaidar — would have been very desirable for some people, who are seeking an unconstitutional and forcible change of power in Russia.”
“Boris Abramovich Berezovsky is a Russian Jewish billionaire who was head of Russian National Security under Boris Yeltsin. When Putin came to power he opened investigations into Berezovsky’s business activities, including money laundering. Berezovsky responded by fleeing to the UK where he was granted political asylum.
Boris Abramovich Berezovsky
Berezovsky has been accused of money laundering by the French authorities.
Berezovsky either holds or has held, Israeli citizenship.
In its Dec. 30, 1996 issue, Forbes Magazine published an extensive article called “Godfather of the Kremlin?,” in which it charged Berezovsky with responsibility for the 1995 killing of popular television journalist Vladimir Listev. The magazine also accused Berezovsky of having numerous mafia connections and embezzling $50 million collected by his company from thousands of Russians who purchased AVVA shares-allegedly to start producing a new passenger car.
Boris Berezovsky has admitted that he is plotting the violent overthrow of the Russian government and was “warned” by Jack Straw, (who was subsequently sacked from his position as British Foreign Secretary) not to “abuse” his asylum status in Britain. Putin has demanded that Berezovsky be extradited to Russia. Blair had refused to do so.
Boris Berezovsky’s lawyer is Alexander Goldfarb. Goldfarb helped Berezovsky secure asylum in the UK. Goldfarb is a Russian dissident who now holds American citizenship.Goldfarb was also a close friend of Litvinenko. Litvinenko’s death bed accusation that Putin was being his killer was publicly read out by Goldfarb in a recent BBC broadast. Goldfarb claims that the document was dictated to him by Alexander Litvinenko. ”
The rabbit hole does indeed go deep.
“Do Berezovsky’s dual loyalties really matter? Yes. In the realm of global dominance, Israel’s interests and Russia’s are considerably divergent. It is in Israel’s interests to bring to power a regime in Russia friendly to Israel, rather than the current one under Putin, which Israeli leaders feel is supportive of its enemies. Not long ago, for example, Putin met with Syrian leaders an action highly disturbing to Israel.
Having an Israeli citizen at the highest levels of the Russian government is ideal, from Israel’s point of view. In Berezovsky they had such a man. The Jerusalem Post article mentioned above is revealing. It describes Berezovsky as “the Godfather of the Oligarchs’ and Kingmaker of Russia’s Politics'” and reports Berezovsky’s statement that “Putin’s Russia is dangerous for Israel.” Berezovsky goes on to assert that Putin “supports terror” in the Middle East through Russia’s previous relations with Iraq and current relations with Iran. ”
A hero in the pariah state and a wanted crim elsewhere.
“â€œYou can get it all over the place,â€ said William Happer, a physicist at Princeton who has advised the United States government on nuclear forensics. â€œAnd itâ€™s a terrible way to go.â€
Today, polonium 210 can show up in everything from atom bombs, to antistatic brushes to cigarette smoke, though in the last case only minute quantities are involved. Iran made relatively large amounts of polonium 210 in what some experts call a secret effort to develop nuclear arms, and North Korea probably used it to trigger its recent nuclear blast.
Commercially, Web sites and companies sell many products based on polonium 210, with labels warning of health dangers. By some estimates, a lethal dose might cost as little as $22.50, plus tax. â€œRadiation from polonium is dangerous if the solid material is ingested or inhaled,â€ warns the label of an antistatic brush. â€œKeep away from children.â€
Peter D. Zimmerman, a professor in the war studies department of Kingâ€™s College, London, said the many industrial uses of polonium 210 threatened to complicate efforts at solving the Litvinenko case. â€œItâ€™s a great Agatha Christie novel,â€ he said. â€œShe couldnâ€™t have written anything weirder than this.â€
Industrial companies found polonium 210 to be ideal for making static eliminators that remove dust from film, lenses and laboratory balances, as well as paper and textile plants.
Manufacturers of antistatic devices take great pains to make the polonium hard to remove. Even so, Dr. Zimmerman of Kingâ€™s College said it could be done with â€œcareful lab work,â€ which he declined to describe.
An antistatic fan made by NRD, of Grand Island, N.Y., contains 31,500 microcuries of polonium 210 â€” or, in theory, more than 10 lethal doses. The unit often sells commercially for $225.00. Repeated calls to NRD were not returned, but the company in sales literature describes its products as unusually safe.
Still, several experts held out the possibility that close examination of polonium 210 residues from Mr. Litvinenkoâ€™s body or from the multiple sites where it has been found around London might reveal nuclear fingerprints that could throw light on the baffling case.
â€œWhat theyâ€™ll be looking for is radioactive contaminants made at the same time,â€ said Dr. Happer of Princeton. â€œTheyâ€™ll do the best they can technically,â€ hoping to find a match between the London samples and the known attributes of the worldâ€™s stocks of polonium 210. â€œBut my guess,â€ he added, â€œis that it will take an informantâ€ to clear up the mystery.”
Polonium is found also in cigarettes.
Now to survey the sort of companies owned by the nefarious Israeli Russian oligarchs – chances are that at least one of the nasty critters has or had the stuff readily available in their factories.
Boris Berezovsky made his stack in Russia in the 1980s in the car industry.
Forbes was sued for libel by Berezovsky in the 90s in England.
“Forbes, an influential American fortnightly magazine, devoted considerable resources to the investigation and reporting of the situation in the post-Soviet phase in Russia. In 1996 its reporting centred on the role of two considerable figures in the new Russia. The first and most powerful was Mr. Boris Berezovsky. He is a businessman and politician. He has extensive interests in Russian businesses, including cars, oil, media and finance. In October 1996 he became Deputy Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation which is a senior post in the Russian Government. His subsequent career is not directly relevant but I mention it for an understanding of the context. In November 1997 President Yeltsin dismissed Mr. Berezovsky. In April 1998 Mr. Berezovsky was appointed as Secretary of the Commonwealth of Independent Sates, with responsibility for co-operation between the various parts of the Russian Federation. The second figure of interest to Forbes was Mr. Nikolai Glouchkov. In December 1996 he was the First Deputy Manager of Aeroflot, the Russian international airline. He is now the Managing Director of Aeroflot.
In its issue of 30 December 1996 Forbes described the two men as “criminals on an outrageous scale”. On the contents page Mr. Berezovsky was introduced as follows:
“Is he the Godfather of the Kremlin? Power, Politics, Murder. Boris Berezovsky can teach the guys in Sicily a thing or two.”
The flavour of the article, which together with a prominent photograph of Mr. Berezovsky was spread over seven pages, is captured by an editorial published by Mr. James W. Michaels, the editor of Forbes. It states:
“. . . this is the true story of the brilliant, unscrupulous Boris Berezovsky, a close associate of President Boris Yeltsin and a man who parlayed an auto dealership into Russia’s most formidable business empire. Berezovsky stands tall as one of the most powerful men in Russia. Behind him lies a trail of corpses, uncollectible debts and competitors terrified for their lives.
“A number of Forbes editorial staffers were involved in the reporting and picture-gathering over a period of many months. As one of them puts it. “In Moscow, asking questions about Berezovsky was like being back there in pre-Gorbachev days. At the very mention of Berezovsky’s name, people would look around furtively, lower their voices and try to change the subject. “Russians have good reason to be afraid of Berezovsky and people like him: Emulating the old communist bosses, the new crime bosses use KGB-trained assassins and enforcers. In the prevalence of brutality and extralegal power grabs, Russia hasn’t finished paying the price for those 70 years of communism. “This is one of the finest pieces of reporting I have seen in my half-century in journalism.”
The trail goes from the hotel in Grosvenor Square Mayfair to the Sushi Bar to Berezovsky’s office to a house in Grosvenor Street to Litvinenko’s home, yet as Justin Raimundo says, Litvinenko had at least 4 meetings that fateful day.
Lugovoy and Kovtun who met Litvinenko at the Millenium Hotel in Grosvenor Square deny involvement. Yet Lugovoy is connected with Gaidar, also poisoned, in Ireland.
“It is reported that Lugovoy was Gaidar’s chief bodyguard in the Nineties.”
A switched cigarette packet would explain the trail – if Litvinenko was in fact a smoker. It would also explain the contamination of Scaramella, his wife, the radiation on the floor of the Millenium hotel (dropped butt?), as Litvinenko would inhale then exhale, the breathed out fumes contaminating those around him. It would also explain the light switch showing radiation – transference of polonium from Litvinenko’s fingers which had been holding the cigarette to the switch.
” The dictionary defines Erinys as “an avenging deity; one of the Furies; sometimes, conscience personified,” and doesn’t that send a bit of a chill down the spine? Alarm bells ought to be going off, at this point, as we learn that Erinys has its roots in the South African apartheid regime’s intelligence apparatus, and, in its present incarnation, has links to Ahmed “Hero in Error” Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress.
Erinys secured a contract from the Coalition Provisional Authority worth $80 million to protect Iraq’s oil infrastructure, and you can see what a good job they’ve been doing. While this may not be a bargain for American taxpayers, it is a good deal for the INC, practically a guarantee of permanent employment for Chalabi’s gang. Erinys employs their top people as legal counsel and uses Chalabi’s militia for the strong-arm stuff: 14,000 strong. And you thought the U.S. subsidy to Chalabi & Co. had ended!
Titon International, headed by the same CEO, is variously identified as a “private investigator,” and also an agency engaged in “confidential” “computer forensic investigation,” whatever that is: their Web site describes them as
“An independent Business Intelligence Company providing a wide range of bespoke security and intelligence services to the commercial world both in the UK and Overseas. All Titon services are necessarily discreet and precisely tailored to the client’s requirement â€“ client confidentiality is of paramount importance to us and is always guaranteed.”
Titon’s graphic symbol, prominently displayed on their Web site, is an iceberg floating in the sea, with the great mass of it underwater and only a few icy peaks jutting through the surface.
The clean lines of the narrative â€“ Litvinenko had just two meetings that day, and went right home after feeling ill â€“ have been broken by interpolations of fact. There were, it seems, at least four meetings, with persons yet unknown, and in a sequence still to be determined. And more locations are under investigation, including the Sheraton Park Lane Hotel on Piccadilly: I’m guessing that is where Scaramella was staying, although it could also be a line of investigation we know nothing about at present.”
Lugovoi reckons he’s being set up. Berezovsky points the finger at him:
“Berezovsky, in an interview with the Moscow Times, seems to point the finger at Lugovoi, even as he abjures making any formal accusation:
“One of the Russians with whom Litvinenko met was Andrei Lugovoi, a former KGB officer who worked with Litvinenko in the 1990s in a private security service for then-powerful businessman Boris Berezovsky, Goldfarb said.
“He and Berezovsky suggested Monday that Lugovoi now might have Kremlin backing.
“But they both stressed that there was no evidence linking Litvinenko’s illness to either meeting. â€¦ Berezovsky said by telephone that he had last met Lugovoi in late October or early November and that Lugovoi had spoken of managing a multimillion-dollar detective business. ‘This surprised me, as anyone close to me can normally not even find work in Moscow, let alone have a successful business,’ said Berezovsky. â€¦ ‘This raises questions, but I don’t want to point any fingers,’ he said.”
Oh, of course not! It is going to be a hard sell, however, portraying Lugovoi as a Kremlin agent, given his past services to Berezovsky.”
Dmitry Kovtun is ex-USSR military, and Lugovoy’s friend and partner, who stayed in Germany after 1991 and currently is a consultant for doing business in Russia. He also participated in the meeting and for whatever reason was called “Volodya” in early media reports.
Vyacheslav Sokolenko is from the same military colledge as Kovtun and Lugovoy and currently heads a private security company in Russia.
From what they are saying, they came to London for a football match and met with Litvinenko to discuss their business project. Meeting was in hotel and lasted 20-30 minutes, Lugovoy and Kovtun ordered drinks, Litvinenko did not eat or drink anything. At that time Sokolenko was showing London to Lugovoy’s and his own families, and met Litvinenko shortly at the end of the meeting when they were back at the hotel.”
“Vyacheslav Sokolenko, a business partner of Mr Lugovoi, was at the hotel at the time and matches the description. He denies having anything to do with the poisoning and is not a suspect.
Last night, Mr Sokolenko said he met Mr Litvinenko in the hotel lobby. “We shook hands out of politeness and then we went to our rooms.”
“He said the two met on Nov. 1 at a hotel bar, where they were joined by Lugovoy’s business partner Dmitry Kovtun. Later, another business partner, Vyacheslav Sokolenko, as well as Lugovoy’s wife and son joined the group. Lugovoy said Litvinenko did not eat anything, but that drinks were ordered.
Lugovoy adds, “Everyone says I met him before his meeting with the Italian. This is not right – I met him after his meeting with the Italian.””
So the sushi appears to be the point of intial contact with the poison.
Symptoms of poisoning apparently show within an hour or so of polonium ingestion. If my cigarette theory is correct, perhaps lunch was followed by a ciggie. Then more later – leading to a critical dose by the time of the meeting with the Russian trio at the Millenium hotel at 4 p.m.
Alternatively, if the poison was administered by a contaminated document maybe Litvinenko first handled it at the sushi bar, then later pulled it out to have another look.
Either way it has to be something he’s touched, because of the radioactive traces on the light switch.
“In Israel, Russian exile Leonid Nevzlin said Litvinenko’s death could be linked to investigations into charges laid against ex-shareholders and former owners of the Yukos oil company.
Nevzlin _ a former shareholder in the Yukos oil company _ told Israel’s daily Haaretz newspaper on Friday that Litvinenko had visited him for a meeting.
He said he had passed on documents related to the campaign of criminal charges and tax claims against Yukos shareholders and officials, including now-jailed founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Nevzlin told the newspaper he feared the ex-agent’s death could be connected to the probe.
Nevzlin was charged by Russian prosecutors with organizing murders, fraud and tax evasion, and lives in self-imposed exile in Israel to evade prosecution.”
Israhell doesn’t allow extradition of its crooks.
“n today’s Observer, Svetlichnaja, a politics student at the University of Westminster, says Litvinenko claimed he had access to Russian intelligence documents containing information on individuals and companies that had fallen foul of the Kremlin.
‘He told me he was going to blackmail or sell sensitive information about all kinds of powerful people, including oligarchs, corrupt officials and sources in the Kremlin,’ she said. ‘He mentioned a figure of Â£10,000 that they would pay each time to stop him broadcasting these FSB documents. Litvinenko was short of money and was adamant that he could obtain any files he wanted.’
Litvinenko’s access to such documents could have made him an enemy of both big business interests and the Kremlin. However, his claims are almost impossible to verify and some political analysts have gone as far as to dismiss him as a fantasist.
Shvets, 53, emerges as yet another character in an espionage saga linking Britain, Italy, the US and Russia. Like Litvinenko, Shvets worked for the Russian billionaire Boris Berezovsky, whom the Kremlin has tried unsuccessfully to extradite from Britain. Shvets was a KGB major between 1980 and 1990, during which time he worked undercover in Washington as a correspondent for the Russian news agency, Tass. He emigrated to the US in 1993 and wrote a book about his experiences.
Shvets met Scaramella in Washington last year to discuss the Italian’s role as a consultant to the Mitrokhin commission, set up by the Italian government to investigate Russian infiltration during the Cold War. It has been alleged that Scaramella discussed with the commission’s chief, Paolo Guzzanti, whether they should look for evidence that Romano Prodi, Italy’s Prime Minister, was linked to the KGB. Prodi denies any link.
Last night another link connecting the worlds of Italian politics and Russian intelligence emerged. Gerard Batten, an MEP for the UK Independence Party, confirmed Litvinenko had told him a man called ‘Sokolov’, who worked undercover as a Russian agent in the Seventies as a reporter for Tass, was the key link between senior Italian politicians and the KGB.
This week Scotland Yard will interview two Russians who met Litvinenko on the same day he had lunch with Scaramella. Andrei Lugovoy, a former agent with the FSB, and Dmitry Kovtun met Litvinenko in the Millennium Mayfair hotel. Traces of polonium have been found on the planes on which they are believed to have travelled between London and Moscow.”
Julia Svetlichnaja, politics student:
“The next time we met, in the summer, we ended up walking around Hyde Park for hours. I started to wonder whether meeting Litvinenko was a waste of time. He told me shamelessly of his blackmailing plans aimed at Russian oligarchs. ‘They have got enough, why not to share? I will do it officially,’ he said. After two hours of traipsing around the park, I suggested we sit down somewhere. ‘Professionals never sit and talk, they walk and walk around so nobody can overhear their conversation,’ he muttered darkly.”
Certainly gives Berezovsky and the oligarch coterie plenty of motive.
“The potential suspect Lugovoi told The Sunday Times he was the mystery businessman who had visited locations across London since tested positive for radioactivity, including the Sheraton Park Lane hotel. According to other sources, he also went to the offices of Boris Berezovsky, the dissident Russian billionaire.
The radioactive trail suggests that Lugovoi, also a former spy, was contaminated with polonium-210 as early as October 25, about a week before Litvinenko was poisoned, probably at a sushi bar in Piccadilly.
Lugovoi denied he and two business associates, Dmitri Kovtun and Vyacheslav Sokolenko, were involved in any plot. All three men met Litvinenko on November 1, the day he was poisoned. â€œWe suspect that someone has been trying to frame us,â€ said Lugovoi. â€œSomeone passed this stuff onto us . . . so as to point the finger at us and distract the police.â€ He also suggested they could have been contaminated by Litvinenko.
Lugovoi, who has been in contact with Scotland Yard, said he had flown to London from Moscow on October 25, checking into the Sheraton Park Lane. It may explain how the hotel was contaminated, as Litvinenko did not visit it on November 1.
During a second trip to London to watch the Arsenal-CSKA Moscow football match, Lugovoi, Kovtun and Sokolenko met Litvinenko at the Millennium hotel in Mayfair. Yesterday police mounted a search for polonium in the part of the Emirates stadium where Lugovoi had been sitting and gave it the all-clear.
By the time of the meeting at the Millennium hotel, Litvinenko is thought to have already eaten at the Itsu sushi bar with Mario Scaramella, an Italian security expert. Yesterday the barâ€™s manager was contacted by police for a second time.
Litvinenko fell seriously ill shortly after this meeting with Scaramella. As he lay dying, he said he believed Lugovoi was a key suspect.
Alexander Goldfarb, Litvinenkoâ€™s friend, said: â€œHe obviously suspected Lugovoi. He suspected Scaramella too, but he suspected Lugovoi more. That is why when he was ill, he never put that meeting with Lugovoi and his associates into the public domain. He wanted to lure him back to London when he got better.â€
Scaramella was yesterday at University College hospital after he tested positive for radioactivity. He was said to have no symptoms of radiation sickness, but Sergio Rastrelli, his lawyer, said: â€œThe doctors have told him polonium always has potentially lethal effects. He either inhaled or ingested polonium. He was not contaminated by Litvinenko.â€
Litvinenkoâ€™s wife, Marina, who has also been contaminated, is showing no sign of illness and her level of radiation is described by police sources as â€œabsolutely minimalâ€.
Police sources confirmed the dose administered to Litvinenko was â€œat least 100 timesâ€ the amount needed to kill somebody.
The sushi bar is the most likely place that Litvinenko and Scaramella were poisoned, but detectives do not know how the radioactive material was administered. They are not ruling out the possibility that the two men were poisoned separately elsewhere.
Detectives have told ministers they are closing in on a suspect. They say he is a businessmen who travelled from Moscow to London before November 1 but refuse to say whether Lugovoi is the suspect.”
Unbelievable amount of differing stories in the media as to whether Scaramella is cactus or not.
Latest reports say not:
“Initial tests on an Italian contact of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko show no sign of radiation poisoning, a hospital said on Saturday.
Mario Scaramella was admitted to hospital in London when polonium 210, the same radioactive substance that killed Litvinenko, was detected in his body.
The Litvinenko mystery has sparked a health scare after authorities said this week that traces of radiation had been found at 12 sites and aboard planes that carried 33,000 passengers in the past month, many flying between London and Moscow. The affair also strained London’s relations with Moscow.
“He is well. Preliminary tests so far show no evidence of radiation toxicity,” a spokesman for University College Hospital said of Scaramella. Further tests are due to be carried out over the weekend.”
Boris Berezovsky ‘a broken man’ before his death
‘Police said they were trying to “gain a better understanding” of the businessman’s state of mind in his final days and indicated that they thought he had killed himself. Detective Chief Inspector Kevin Brown of Thames Valley Police said: “We do not have evidence to suggest third party involvement.”
However, given the dead man’s association with the murdered ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko and the history of attempts on his life in Moscow and London, police are continuing to investigate. MI5 and Scotland Yard’s anti-terror unit have been kept informed and it is understood that samples from Mr Berezovsky’s body will be sent to the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston for analysis. Scientists there discovered that Mr Litvinenko had been poisoned in 2006 with radioactive polonium 210.
Mr Berezovsky’s friend said he had been depressed after losing a court battle with Roman Abramovich, the Chelsea FC owner, in October. His assets had been frozen after he and Helena Gorbunova separated in December.
“I don’t think there was any reason for the Russians to kill Boris – he was destroyed six months ago by the British courts,” said Alex Goldfarb, a longtime friend. “That was a huge victory for (President) Putin. Boris was effectively taken out of the picture. He had started smoking again, he was drinking, he had stopped enjoying life. He was under tremendous stress.” Lord Bell, Mr Berezovsky’s PR spokesman, said: “I saw him last two weeks ago and he was very depressed, very low.”’