Alexander Litvinenko, the former Russian spy who was poisoned in a plush London hotel, revealed in audio footage that he was investigating links between the Russian President and one of the world’s most dangerous men, it has been revealed.
The audio footage recorded by Litvinenko has emerged exactly nine years after he died aged 43.
A critic of the Kremlin, Litvinenko fled to Britain in 2000 where he was granted citizenship. In November 2006, he died after drinking tea poisoned with a rare radioactive isotope. From his deathbed he accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of ordering his murder – an accusation upheld up by his family and friends.
Former KGB bodyguards Andrey Lugovoy and Dmitry Kovtun have been identified as suspects in his murder. However both deny any involvement and remain in Russia despite attempts by the UK to extradite them to stand trial.
A public inquiry into his death will commence in London next week. On Friday, his wife, Marina Litvinenko, 52, told The Independent the review would achieve a "kind of justice".
She added that she accepts that Lugovoy and Kovtun are unlikely to ever stand trial for her husband's death, despite prosecutors wanting to press charges following a Scotland Yard inquiry.
In the audio recording uncovered by the Telegraph, Litvinenko accused the Kremlin of threatening him for working with a commission investigating alleged Soviet links with Italian politicians.
The Mitrokhin Commission was a parliamentary body set up in 2002, led by Senator Paolo Guzzanti. In the tape, Litvinenko added that the Russian special services were “very afraid” of the commission’s work.
In the recording, Litvinenko also claimed that the Russian government had trie to blackmail him to stop him syphoning information to Mario Scaramella – a lawyer who worked as a consultant for the Mitrokhin Commission - including on Semion Mogilevich.
The Ukrainian crime boss, who continues to be one of the FBI’s most wanted men, was selling weapons to al-Qaeda, and had a "good relationship" with Putin the the early Nineties Litvinenko believed.
During Litvinenko’s final years, he and Scaramella met regularly, both in Italy and London.
At their final meeting on 1 November 2006, Scaramella warned Litvinenko that he had become aware of a Russian plot to kill those involved with the commission.
Litvinenko dismissed the claims, but became violently ill later that day following a meeting with Lugovoy and Kovtun, and later died.
Additional reporting by Reuters
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