Litvinenko suspect submits material

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Published: Tuesday 26th May 2015 by The News Editor

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One of the prime suspects in the killing of Alexander Litvinenko has submitted material to the inquiry into the former Russian spy’s death in a bid to give evidence.

Dmitri Kovtun and Andrei Lugovoi are suspected of murdering the 43-year-old, who died nearly three weeks after consuming tea laced with polonium-210 in London in November 2006.

The pair deny any involvement and remain in Russia, having initially refused to take part in the inquiry into Mr Litvinenko’s death, which is sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

However, in March Kovtun dramatically changed his mind and offered to give evidence via video-link.

The inquiry’s chairman, Sir Robert Owen, said he would grant Kovtun “core participation status” and allow him to give evidence if he meets a number of conditions, including that he provides a full witness statement and discloses any relevant material.

Sir Robert said Kovtun would not be granted access to restricted confidential material despite his core participation status, putting him in the same position as Mr Litvinenko’s widow and the Metropolitan Police.

Today a spokesman for the inquiry confirmed that “correspondence has been received from Mr Dmitri Kovtun which the inquiry chairman, Sir Robert Owen, is currently considering”.

He added: ” Sir Robert’s decision on assigning core participation designation to Mr Kovtun will follow in due course.”

No indication has been given of when Sir Robert’s decision will be announced. The inquiry has been adjourned until July.

On his deathbed, Mr Litvinenko accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of ordering his assassination – which the Kremlin denies.

In April Kovtun said he believes the former KGB officer might have killed himself accidentally after handling radioactive material.

He reportedly told a press conference in Moscow: “I am more than sure that he dealt with polonium, without knowing it.

“Maybe it was leaking and polonium accumulated in his body gradually. It is possible that something he carried with him led to a gradual accumulation of polonium in the body.”

Published: Tuesday 26th May 2015 by The News Editor

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