He became a fierce critic of the Kremlin; the inquiry revealed he was paid by MI6. After Litvinenko’s death, British experts alleged that a considerable amount of radioactive polonium-210 had been found in his body.
Marina Litvinenko, the widow of murdered KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko, speaks to members of the media as she leaves the High Court in central London, yesterday.
Lugovoy had contact with corrupt Kremlin figures, he said, and launched a political career as a Russian parliamentarian after the murder.
Mrs Litvinenko added: “Any reasonable person who looks at the evidence presented in the inquiry will see my husband was killed by agents of the Russian state in the first ever act of nuclear terrorism in the streets of London”. “This could not have happened without knowledge or consent of Mr. Putin”.
Litvinenko fled from Russian Federation to Britain in 2000.
Mr Emmerson QC said that Mr Litvinenko’s past whistle-blowing about Putin and the KGB made him an “enemy of the state”.
Closing statements for the Litvinenko inquiry started Friday at the court.
Mr Putin’s “personal cabal” are “willing to murder those who stand in their way”, Mr Emmerson added.
“On the evidence, there can be no doubt that Litvinenko was unlawfully killed and the science is such that the finger points unwaveringly to Lugovoi and Kovtun”, he said. Last year, the government announced a judge-led public inquiry, which opened in January.
“The aim of this trial is not to find out the truth but to continue hanging labels on Russian Federation”, he said.
Some of the evidence at the inquiry was heard behind closed doors because of concerns over national security.
Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, also said on Friday that Russian officials “don’t trust this [inquiry]”, the Tass news agency reported.
The controversy generated by Litvinenko’s killing plunged Anglo-Russian relations to a post-Cold War low.
“It was not something that could possibly have occurred accidentally”.
Contamination was found in the u-bends of the sinks in their rooms, on the floor of one room and on towels which, he said, suggested there had been either efforts to dispose of the deadly substance, to transfer it or to mop it up after a spillage.
The investigation also uncovered polonium contamination on flights taken by the suspects and in other places where they had been.
“If the Russian state is responsible, Putin is responsible”, Emmerson said.
Exiled oligarch Boris Berezovsky died in uncertain circumstances in Surrey in March 2013 after falling foul of Putin and amid claims he was about to hand the Russian president evidence of a coup plot. “The Metropolitan police service want Lugovoi and Kovtun to be tried in this country for murder”, he said.
Horwell used closing speech to make the case against Lugovoi and Kovtun, and to appeal for the pair to face justice in the UK.
Mr Emmerson told the inquiry Mr Putin was an “increasingly isolated tinpot despot” and a “morally deranged authoritarian”.
Mr Litvinenko’s widow Marina said she believed her husband’s “murderers and their paymasters” had “been unmasked”. Horwell even mentioned a quote supposedly made by bloody Russian dictator Josef Stalin, which translates as “no men, no problem”, saying it resonated with Litvinenko’s death.