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London returns to investigation of high-profile case of polonium poisoning

September 21, 2012, 12:24 UTC+3

Two more preliminary meetings are planned before the main hearings

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MOSCOW, September 21 (Itar-Tass) — On Thursday, September 20, a preliminary hearing before the inquest in the case of former Russian FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko who died in 2006 because of polonium poisoning, was held in London. Testimony at the hearings will be given in a videoconference regime by the main suspect - State Duma member Andrei Lugovoi. Two more preliminary meetings are planned before the main hearings.

The Kommersant daily writes that literally in very first minutes the judge announced that the inquest cannot be delayed any more. Marina Litvinenko, Boris Berezovsky, representatives of Andrei Lugovoi - the main suspect in the case of murder of Mr Litvinenko, officials of the city police, the Crown Prosecution Service, and even the British government, which runs security services, were present in the hearings hall.

The Rossiiskaya Gazeta newspaper notes that according to rumours, Judge Owen is set to make the procedure open. Sensations are possible during the inquest. British police have already stated that it have new evidence and clues. During inquest Mr Lugovoi will possibly answer questions via video link. The case of Mr Litvinenko’s death is investigated by the anti-terrorist unit of Scotland Yard. Therefore, all official information on the causes of death of the former FSB officer is classified. Russia has repeatedly stated that it is willing to work with the British colleagues to investigate the death of Litvinenko. But it received no response, although British experts have been to Moscow. State Duma deputy Andrei Lugovoi has officially confirmed that British experts have examined him on a polygraph in Moscow and concluded that he is not involved in the murder of Litvinenko.

In late May, the RF Prosecutor General’s Office expressed bewilderment over the transfer to court of the Litvinenko death case by the British law enforcement authorities, although the investigation has not been completed and the perpetrators not found. Head of the Main International Legal Cooperation Department of the RF Prosecutor General’s Office Saak Karapetyan wrote about this in the Rossiiskasya Gazeta newspaper.

“For some reasons unknown to us the case of Litvinenko’s death has been taken to a London court without the completion of the investigation, without establishing those responsible, which is not done in any other country of the world. There have been attempts to invite Russian representatives to participate in the process, but because there are many unclear issues and aspects, we so far observe all this form the outside,” Karapetyan said.

More mysteries have appeared this year in the Litvinenko death case. Initially, Moscow was accused of everything. Reports appeared this spring saying that shortly before his death Litvinenko met with his father - Valter Litvinenko, and told him who poisoned him.

According to the elder Litvinenko, Andrei Lugovoi is not involved in the death of his son. And the dying Alexander, according to his father, before his death named totally different persons.

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