Probe into poisoning broadens

December 04, 2006|By Los Angeles Times

LONDON -- British authorities said yesterday that they are widening their investigation into the poisoning of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko on the heels of a fresh series of leads into the Russian dissident's murky political and business connections that span from Moscow to the United States.

British news media reported that police investigators were in the United States interviewing former KGB agent Yuri Shvets, who purportedly has information on a dossier Litvinenko had in his possession relating to the Kremlin's pursuit of figures linked to Yukos Oil Co. The company was forcibly broken up and effectively renationalized in 2004 after Russian authorities imprisoned its chief executive.

In Moscow, British investigators were said to be planning to interview another former KGB agent, Andrei Lugovoy, who met with Litvinenko on the day of his suspected poisoning. Lugovoy was one of those Litvinenko himself was said to have suspected.

Although Litvinenko accused the Kremlin of responsibility for the large dose of radioactive polonium-210 that is believed to have killed him, police are exploring a growing number of leads, some relating to his investigative work into the shadowy world of Russian and Chechen organized crime, wealthy Russian oligarchs and international politics.

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