Litvinenko inquiry extended to Moscow

Scotland Yard said that counter-terrorism officers would be taking their investigation into the death of ex-KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko to Moscow within the next few days.

The revelation came as one of the most senior former figures in the intelligence world appeared to point the finger of blame directly at the Russian state. As the theories continued to abound as to why and how Mr Litvinenko came to be poisoned with the deadly radioactive substance polonium-210, Metropolitan Police sources suggested nine officers would be travelling to Moscow but would not reveal who they want to interview.

Among those likely to be considered is the former Russian intelligence officer Mikhail Trepashkin, who is currently in jail for revealing secret information. In letters smuggled out of Russia last week he offered himself as a witness and claimed that a secret hit squad had been set up to target Mr Litvinenko as well as others.

Meanwhile, Dame Pauline Neville-Jones, the former chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, told BBC 1's Sunday AM programme: "The question you have to ask yourself, I suppose, is, 'Who has the motive and who has the capability?' There's quite a lot of people potentially, I think, who have the motive. The capability, I think, ties it much more to some organ of the Russian state. You can't buy polonium in the chemists, so it has to come from some source that's able to produce it."

Last week the Kremlin denied claims that linked President Vladimir Putin to the poisoning, insisting it was disappointed with "hysteria" in the British media.

Ten days after Mr Litvinenko's death, the investigation continued to widen as the Home Secretary, John Reid, said: "The police will follow wherever this investigation leads inside or outside of Britain. That will continue over the next few days." Mario Scaramella, the Italian academic who met Mr Litvinenko at Itsu sushi restaurant on 1 November and later tested positive for polonium-210, was said to be well and continued to show no symptoms of poisoning, University College Hospital in London said. Doctors were due to carry out fresh tests on Mr Scaramella yesterday as his lawyer, Sergio Rastrelli, conceded his client was "clearly worried" even though his dosage of polonium was far less than that which apparently killed Mr Litvinenko.

A variety of theories continued to emerge, including claims that Mr Litvinenko planned to make money blackmailing senior Russian spies and business figures. The London-based Russian academic, Julia Svetlichnaja, told The Observer: "He told me shamelessly of his blackmailing plans aimed at Russian oligarchs. "'They have got enough, why not to share? I will do it officially', he said."

It was also claimed that the fierce Kremlin critic had obtained a dossier containing damaging information about the Russian government and the break-up of the oil giant Yukos.

While police sources admitted officers had been to Washington, Scotland Yard declined to comment on reports that British detectives have interviewed the former KGB officer, Yuri Shvets, in the US over a dossier he may have compiled on issues relating to Yukos.

Leonid Nevzlin, a former shareholder of the oil giant who now lives in Israel, has claimed that a document on Yukos that Mr Litvinenko gave him may have provided a motive for someone to kill him.

Mr Litvinenko's wife Marina was found to have a very low level of polomium and her son Anatole, 12, has tested negative for the substance.

The NHS Direct phone line has now received 3,025 calls from worried members of the public. It has singled out 179 people for further investigation and referred 27 to a specialist clinic for radiological exposure tests.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager - Media Sales - £36,000 OTE

£28000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award-winning company, whi...

Recruitment Genius: C# .NET Developer / Application Support - Junior

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This business has an industry r...

Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: They make daily deliveries to most foodservice...

Recruitment Genius: Transport Planner

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: They make daily deliveries to most foodservice...

Day In a Page

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
Showdown by Shirley Jackson: A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic

Showdown, by Shirley Jackson

A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic
10 best DSLRs

Be sharp! 10 best DSLRs

Up your photography game with a versatile, powerful machine
Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash