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LONDON, February 29 (Itar-Tass) — British prosecutors filed a request for an arrest and extradition of Russian citizen Dmitry Kovtun in the “Litvinenko case,” Kovtun told the Financial Times.
Dmitry Kovtun told the newspaper on Tuesday that Russian prosecutors informed him they received a letter from the Crown Prosecution Service dated February 12 requesting his extradition to face the trial in England. The Crown Prosecution Service said: “We would neither confirm nor deny the story. We do not discuss whether or not we are seeking anyone’s extradition.”
Russia’s refusal to extradite Mr Lugovoi (Kovtun's former business partner) led to tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions and the freezing of cooperation between the two nations’ security services. A fresh push to prosecute could further strain relations between Russia and the UK, the newspaper writes.
Both Mr Lugovoi and Mr Kovtun, the FT recalled, have denied any connection to the murder, saying they were victims either of Litvinenko’s own mishandling of the polonium-210 isotope that killed him – in a smuggling operation that went badly awry – or of a broader plot to discredit Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
Mr Kovtun said he could not understand how British prosecutors could have new evidence linking him to the 2006 murder. “The fact they are presenting this now after five years is suspicious in itself,” he told the FT. “What new evidence can there be?”