Is Putin personally complicit in radioactive poisoning of Litvinenko?
by Alex Goldfarb, head of Litvinenko Justice Foundation
Public hearings took place at the Royal Courts of Justice in London between 27 January and 31 July 2015. In addition, the Inquiry heard secret evidence of the UK government in a closed hearing. The hearings have now been completed. The Chairman of the Inquiry Sir Robert Owen is expected to deliver his report by the end of 2015.
Transcripts of the hearings and the evidence presented are available here.
The evidence included a testimony of witnesses, detailed reports of the police investigation, forensic and scientific analyzes and expert opinion.
The evidence presented in open hearings conclusively shows that a fatal dose of P-210 was placed into Mr. Livinenko’s tea by two Russian visitors, Andrei Lugovoy, and Dmitry Kovtun during a meeting in a London hotel. Both men are sought by the British police on charges of murder, but the Russian government has refused to extradite them. Mr. Lugovoy is currently a member of State Duma, the Russian Parliament, serving as a Deputy Chair of Security Committee.
According to expert testimony, Po-210 that killed Mr. Litvinenko was produced at the Russian government facility “Avanguard” at the city of Sarov. The experts ruled out the possibility that the highly radioactive substance, which is subject to strict government controls, could have been stolen or withdrawn without official authorization. On that basis, it was argued that the murder of Mr. Litvinenko has been procured by the Russian government.
Sir Robert revealed that secret government material contains additional evidence of Russian state involvement in the killing.
Evidence was presented about possible motives for the murder. These included outspoken criticism by Mr. Litvinenko of Mr. Putin and his policies, particularly his allegations that FSB staged a series of terrorist bombings in 1999, which helped Mr. Pitin become president.
Among possible motives was also the role Mr. Litvinenko played in investigating high-level corruption in the Kremlin. Specifically the hearing reviewed a report authored by Mr. Litvinenko, which alleged that one of Mr. Putin’s closest associates was connected to organized crime and drug trafficking.
In addition, the Inquiry heard evidence of Mr. Litvinenko’s assistance to Spanish authorities, which led to the arrests of several Russian crime figures in Spain, who were linked to members of the Kremlin inner circle and Mr. Putin’s personally.
The Inquiry heard arguments by the lawyers of Mr. Litvinenko’s widow Marina, as well as expert opinion that the authorization for a state-sponsored assassination of this significance and consequences could not have happened without explicit authorization by Mr. Putin, not least because Mr. Putin and Mr. Litvnenko were personally acquainted so no official would have ordered the killing on his own.
Marina Litvinenko has asked Sir Robert to find in his report that the murder of her husband has been perpetrated by the Russian state on personal orders by Mr. Putin.