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LONDON, December 4 (Itar-Tass) — Boris Berezovsky has stopped financing the work of lawyers representing the widow of former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko – Marina, at meetings of the Coroner's Court in the case of the circumstances of Litvinenko’s death in the British capital in 2006, one of the three lawyers representing Marina Litvinenko – Ben Emmerson QC, said.
Litvinenko’s widow appealed to the public asking for donations to fund the work of the lawyers. “Mr Berezovsky has made it clear he is no longer in a position to fund Mrs Litvinenko’s legal representation,” The Guardian quoted Ben Emmerson.
The tycoon had contributed a “lump sum” to her legal costs, but this had run out, Emmerson said, adding that her legal team were now working for free, .a certain amount to pay for legal expenses of Marina Litvinenko, but the money has run out and now the team of lawyers is working for free.
The widow appealed to the public with the request to transfer donations to the Litvinenko Justice Foundation from which the lawyers will be paid.
Without financial help, she said, she would be unable to keep hold of her small legalteam. “It’s important we know the truth. This isn’t just about my personal interest. Everybody needs to know what happened.”
On 1 November 2006 Litvinenko suddenly fell ill and was hospitalised in what was established as a case of poisoning by radioactive polonium-210 which resulted in his death on 23 November. The events leading up to this are a matter of controversy, spawning numerous theories relating to his poisoning and death. The British investigation into his death resulted in a failed request to Russia for the extradition of Andrei Lugovoi whom they accused of Litvinenko’s murder, contributing to the further cooling of Russia-UK relations. Britain demanded that Lugovoi be extradited without handing Russia any evidence related to the case. Lugovoi passed a lie detector test, denying the accusations
According to The Guardian, the coroner’s inquest into the circumstances of Litvinenko’s death case will continue for two or three months, so that Marina Litvinenko’s legal costs will reach about 300 thousand pounds (about 480 thousand US dollars).
The Guardian links Berezovsky’s decision to stop funding the lawyers working on the Litvinenko case with his upcoming major expenses. The former oligarch must bear the expenses because he lost a case in a London court against Russian owner of the English football club Chelsea Roman Abramovich.
UK High Court Justice Elizabeth Gloster dismissed the lawsuit by Berezovsky, who fled Russia 11 years ago, calling his testimony unreliable. Berezovsky now will have to pay legal costs worth about 100 million pounds (160 million US dollars).
Because of the financial problems Berezovsky stopped funding of the Civil Liberties Foundation he founded, according to The Guardian.
After the defeat in court, Berezovsky withdrew to private life, his friends say, according to the British newspaper.
On December 13–14, a preliminary meeting of the Coroner's Court is to be held in order to set the date for the beginning of the consideration of the merits of the case of Litvinenko’s death. It is expected to begin next spring.