MOSCOW - Alexander Litvinenko, the former Russian agent murdered in London
last year, was working for British intelligence at the time, the man charged by
Britain with his murder alleged on Thursday.
The Litvinenko case has become a
major irritant in Russian-British relations. Thursday's accusation clearly
sought to parry British suggestions of a serious criminal act on British soil by
a man with past links to Russian security services.
Former Kremlin bodyguard Andrei Lugovoy listens to a question
during an interview at Moscow's Ekho Moskvy (Moscow Echo) radio station in
this February 23, 2007 file photo. [Reuters]
Andrei Lugovoy, whom Russia has refused to extradite to face charges of
killing Litvinenko with radioactive polonium in London, did not say who he
thought murdered Litvinenko but suggested that British intelligence was the most
"Litvinenko became an agent who left the control of (British) special
services and was killed," Lugovoy, himself a former KGB agent, told a news
"If not by the (British) intelligence services themselves, then under their
control or with their connivance."
Lugovoy said Litvinenko and his patron, self-exiled billionaire Russian
tycoon Boris Berezovsky, were both working for British secret services.
"In the words of Sasha (Litvinenko) himself, first he was recruited and
afterwards, on his advice, Boris Abramovich (Berezovsky) gave to the British
some (Russian) security council documents and also became an MI6 agent," Lugovoy
Lugovoy also said British intelligence had tried to recruit him in order to
provide compromising information on President Vladimir Putin and his family.
He again dismissed the British charges against him, saying "Britain is making
me a scapegoat."
"A real war is being waged against me and Russia in the press," he added.
Lugovoy, who now runs a private security firm in Moscow, has repeatedly
denied any involvement in Litvinenko's death.