Widow’s lawyer: Moscow has tried to block Litvinenko inquiry

On his deathbed, he blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin – a claim Moscow denies.


Bloomberg reported that British police lawyer Richard Horwell told the court on July 30 that the evidence clearly points to the guilt of Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun.

The big question that Sir Robert will be called upon to answer is whether the killing was masterminded by the Russian security services (FSB), and, if it was, whether it was done on Mr Putin’s orders.

“The evidence suggests that the only credible explanation is that in one way or another the Russian state was involved in Litvinenko’s murder”, Horwell said, adding that Russia had a “formidable list” of grievances against Litvinenko.

“When the evidence is viewed in the round, as it must be, it establishes Russian state responsibility for Alexander Litvinenko’s murder beyond reasonable doubt”.

He added: “That approach speaks volumes and proves significant support for the conclusion that Mr Putin and his cronies were not only behind the murder but now stand four-square behind the murderers“.

Mr Litvinenko, 43, died almost three weeks after drinking tea laced with polonium-210 in London in November 2006.

The Kremlin has always denied involvement, as have Lugoyov and Kovtun, whom Russian Federation has refused to extradite.

The inquiry heard in great detail forensic evidence linking Kovtun and Lugovoi to the murder, including the discovery of polonium-210 in the pair’s hotel rooms, as well as how Mr Litvinenko’s whistle-blowing about Mr Putin and his alleged links to organised crime had made him an “enemy of the state”.

Ben Emmerson, QC, saved his strongest condemnation yet of Mr Putin for the final day of a six-month inquiry into the killing of the Russian dissident with radioactive polonium-210.

Speaking to a Russian news agency, Mr Lugovoy said the inquiry had “long since stopped being of interest to me, since I understood a long time ago that they are biased and politicised”.

It was a “menacing gesture of support”, Emmerson said, designed to intimidate the inquiry.

He described an honour later warded to Lugovoy for services to the “Motherland” by the president in March as an attempt by Russian Federation to undermine the inquiry.

He described Mr Putin as “an increasingly isolated tinpot despot” and a “morally deranged authoritarian”, who had been shown to have political and personal reasons for wanting to “liquidate” Mr Litvinenko.

Mr Emmerson (the lawyer representing Litvinenko’s widow Marina) has said… this was a nuclear attack on the streets of London.


During the inquiry, which opened in January, details have also emerged of Mr Litvinenko’s work with MI6, including his regular meetings in Waterstones’ bookstores with his contact “Martin”.

Credit Alistair Fuller  Associated Press