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Andrei Lugovoi recognised as injured party: five years ago, he survived assassination attempt in London

December 01, 2011, 13:28 UTC+3

Russia’s Investigative Committee (SK) opened a criminal case over the attempted murder of a Russian businessman and politician Andrei Lugovoi

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Russia’s Investigative Committee (SK) opened a criminal case over the attempted murder of a Russian businessman and politician Andrei Lugovoi, committed in autumn 2006, during his visit to London. Thus the SK disagreed with British colleagues, who accuse him of involvement in the poisoning of ex-FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko who fled to London. Russian prosecutors have officially recognised Lugovoi as a victim of actions of unknown poisoners.

Rossiyskaya Gazeta recalls the former FSB officer, and then guard of Boris Berezovsky, Alexander Litvinenko, fled to Britain in 2000. His former colleagues in Russia would like to put him to prison. Litvinenko’s name became widely known after his death. He died on November 23, 2006 shortly after receiving British citizenship. Radioactive polonium-210 was found in his body during post-mortem examination. The British side classified the results of this autopsy and the analyses. Russia has repeatedly requested them, but quite unsuccessfully. Nevertheless, British prosecutors announced from the very start that it holds many ··evidence materials against Lugovoi, who allegedly poisoned his former colleague, just about following the instructions of the Russian leadership.

SK spokesman Vladimir Markin said on Wednesday that on November 29, 2011 his agency opened a criminal investigation into the attempted murder of Andrei Lugovoi that was committed in autumn 2006 during his visit to London, Kommersant writes. The case on the same day was consolidated with another that was opened by the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office on December 6, 2006 over a socially dangerous murder in London of former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko and the attempted murder of Dmitry Kovtun (according to the businessman’s entourage, Mr Kovtun then “had a narrow escape.”) As a result of the cases’ consolidation the current State Duma member Andrei Lugovoi, as Litvinenko and Kovtun earlier, was recognised as a victim of the actions of an unknown poisoner. He was a witness in the first case.

The British side’s arguments suggesting that Andrei Lugovoi was involved in Litvinenko’s murder, Kommersant sources say, did not convince the Russian Investigative Committee, as they have many inconsistencies and gaps. Taking into account all these inconsistencies, the Prosecutor General’s Office and then the SK of Russia during five years carried on correspondence with the British Crown Prosecution Service and Scotland Yard, trying to get from them the evidence in the case they collected. However, the Russians were getting only refusals during that time. According to the publication’s sources, the SK was in no hurry to declare Andrei Lugovoi a victim, believing that the British side would make public the allegedly “irrefutable evidence’ it collected on the Russian’s involvement in the murder. Having received another runaround from the UK, the RF Investigative Committee decided to set the record straight.

According to Russian law enforcement officers, Alexander Litvinenko was killed by his numerous contacts in the criminal sphere that the ex-FSB officer established during his service, and then maintained and enhanced overseas. It is known, for example, that in London he regularly met the leaders of the organised crime communities who settled in Europe, representatives of the North Caucasian and Middle Eastern terrorist and extremist organisations, smugglers, intelligence agents.

Head of the Foundation for Effective Politics (FEP) Gleb Pavlovsky, quoted by Nezavisimaya Gazeta, believes that “the political and criminal aspects are very poorly coupled.” On the one hand, the procedural requirements are put forward, on the other - the requirements are largely political in nature, Pavlovsky emphasises: “But if those who in this case commands the investigation believe that what happened will get some positive PR effect, they are simply grossly ignorant in this matter. The case unwinding will not be useful, as it has already been proven with figures more serious than Lugovoi.”

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