Litvinenko inquiry: Former-KGB agent accused Putin of being a paedophile

Mr Litvinenko made the allegations in an article published before his death

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The Independent Online

Former-KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko accused Russian President Vladimir Puttin of being a paedophile, the spy’s widow told a public inquiry into his death.

Mr Litvinenko was 43 when he died at a London hospital after drinking tea laced with a radioactive substance, following a meeting with KGB agents Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitri Kovtun at a hotel in the capital. Both deny any involvement and remain in Russia.

Marina Litvinenko, 52, said her husband wrote an article shortly before he died in 2006 in which he questioned why Mr Putin kissed a young boy's stomach under his t-shirt during a tour of the Kremlin.

Alexander Litvinenko’s widow, Marina, and their son, Anatoly, leave the Royal Courts of Justice (AFP/Getty)

The inquiry at the Royal Court of Justice was shown the article printed alongside a photograph of Mr Putin and the child, underneath the headline: “Kremlin Paedophile.”

“It was written in 2006 after everybody saw how Putin behaved when he met a little boy in a Kremlin tour group. He went under his t-shirt and kissed his stomach,” Mrs Litvinenko told the inquiry.

When asked by the counsel to the inquiry, Robin Tam QC, whether she knew if the allegations are true, Mrs Litvinenko, 52, replied: "No I have no idea."

Mrs Litvinenko said her husband had written a number of books about the Russian President and corruption within the Federal Security Service (FSB), and said he claimed Mr Putin was a KGB informant at university.

She said his "most famous allegation" was that the FSB planned an apartment bombing in 1999, which killed 293 lives and led to the second Chechen war.

His other claims included Putin having links to criminal gangs while serving as deputy major of St Petersburg – then considered then the "criminal capital of Russia" – and that he had penetrated the circle of advisers to the country's former leader Boris Yeltsin, she said.

As she gave evidence, Mrs Litvinenko said the British intelligence services paid the former KGB agent £2,000 a month for "consulting", after he claimed political asylum in the UK.

Asked whether her husband supplied MI6 with the identities of Russian sleeper agents, she said she had “no idea.”

Mrs Litvinenko went on to claim that her family’s phone was tapped after her husband told a press conference in Russia that senior FSB officers told him to kill billionaire Boris Berezovsky - widely considered to be Putin’s enemy - adding that her husband found the question “really strange”.

Mr Berezovsky would later credit Mr Litvinenko with saving his life following the murder of the popular head of a TV station in 1995, the inquiry heard. The businessman went on to pay for her son's school fees when the family sought asylum in the UK.

Mr Putin and  Litvinenko met in 1998 when the former was the head of the FSB, after he was suspended for complaining about the alleged plot. Her husband concluded that Mr Putin was a penpusher who lacked the experience and expertise of other KGB officers who had undertaken tough missions in the field and fought against organised crime.

In late 2000, the couple fled Russia, and were given asylum in the UK in 2001 where they adopted new names and used the surname "Carter", the inquiry was told.

Mrs Litvinenko said her husband was "very proud to be British".

The inquiry was adjourned until tomorrow when Mrs Litvinenko is expected to complete her evidence.