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Coroner’s court may probe into Berezovsky’s role in Litvinenko’s death

November 03, 2012, 21:20 UTC+3

The investigation may look into the involvement of Litvinenko’s friend Berezovsky and groups connected with Chechens and the Spanish Mafia

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LONDON, November 3 (Itar-Tass) —— The coroner’s court may probe into the role entrepreneur Boris Berezovsky, who is now living in Britain, might have played in the circumstances that led to the death of former Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) officer Alexander Litvinenko who was poisoned in London in 2006.

On November 2, the St Pancras Coroners Court’s in London held preliminary hearings on the causes of Litvinenko’s death and reviewed the terms of the investigation to begin in December.

The court plans to invite representatives of Russia and Britain to attend the hearings as interested parties.

Davies said the investigation might look into the involvement of Litvinenko’s friend Berezovsky and groups connected with Chechens and the Spanish Mafia. The court may also consider different leads as Litvinenko’s suicide and the infliction of death by negligence.

The lawyer of Litvinenko’s wife Marina said her defendant did not like assumptions that her husband might have committed suicide or died as a result of some accident. Marina believes these leads have no foundation but she is prepared for a situation where they will be considered in court.

Davies also said that the coroner’s court has so far not received some of the documents it has requested from British governmental agencies.

It’s a coroner’s duty to find out if the death of a person has constituent elements of offence. After that, the coroner decided whether the case should be submitted for judicial inquiry.

The examination of the case on its merits should begin on December 13. It was reported earlier that financial problems might interfere with the investigation. The cost of the full investigation was set at 4 million pounds (6.4 million U.S. dollars), which is an exorbitant amount for the London’s four municipal councils that finance the district coroner’s court, and they asked the British government to provide funding.

In early August, Kenneth Clarke, who was justice secretary at that time, promised to give the money but urged the coroner’s court to cut expenses as part of the austerity budget efforts announced by the British government during the financial crisis.

In August, the Litvinenko case was transferred from Andrew Reed to London’s High Court Judge Robert Owen. He may give some clue as to how to cut investigation expenses.

Litvinenko died of polonium 210 poisoning at a London hospital in November 2006.

British investigators consider Russian MP Andrei Lugovoi to be the main suspect in the case, but he flatly denies all charges.

The British authorities claim that Lugovoi is responsible for Litvinenko's death.

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