Prime suspect hired as adviser on TV series about Alexander Litvinenko

One of two alleged killers of ex-KGB agent will give inside knowledge of case

Laura Mills
Tuesday 09 December 2014 19:01 GMT
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Alexander Litvinenko: The former KGB agent died from polonium-210 poisoning in 2006
Alexander Litvinenko: The former KGB agent died from polonium-210 poisoning in 2006 (PA)

A Russian production company has hired a man charged with the murder of a Russian agent as a consultant on a TV series about the mysterious death.

Former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko died in London in 2006 after drinking tea laced with radioactive polonium-210. Britain identified the two Russian men who had met Litvinenko for tea as prime suspects and charged one of them, Andrei Lugovoi, with murder.

Moscow refused to extradite Lugovoi, who was soon elected to the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, the State Duma, where he still sits. The studio, Central Partnership, said in a statement that Lugovoi has been hired to share his memories of the meeting with Litvinenko and to consult the actors and the director of the miniseries. Lugovoi has also helped the screenwriter with the script, the production company said.

Central Partnership quoted Lugovoi as saying he chose a Russian company after being approached by foreign studios he didn’t trust.

“I made a conscious decision to turn down all of them because I understood that none of them were able to tell this Russian story truthfully because of a different mentality,” Lugovoi stated.

An inquest into Litvinenko’s death stalled over authorities’ reluctance to disclose secret intelligence evidence. But in July Britain announced a public inquiry into the death.

A Russian production studio has hired former FSB officer Andrei Lugovoi as a consultant for a new TV series (Getty) (Getty Images)

Lawyers for Litvinenko’s family said he was working for MI6, Britain’s foreign intelligence agency, at the time of his death.

The case soured British-Russian relations for years, leading both sides to expel diplomats. Those lingering political tensions worsened recently as Britain and other Western powers accused Russia of fomenting unrest in Ukraine and being complicit in the downing of a Malaysia Airlines jet over eastern Ukraine.

Britain, along with France and Germany, has been pushing for harsher sanctions on Russia.

Central Partnership quoted Mr Lugovoi as saying he chose a Russian company after being approached by foreign studios he did not trust. He said: “I made a conscious decision to turn down all of them because I understood that none of them were able to tell this Russian story truthfully because of a different mentality.”

Lawyers for Mr Litvinenko’s family said he was working for MI6 at the time of his death.

It is not the first time Lugovoi has been in the limelight since the death of Mr Litvinenko. In September 2007 he was selected on the party list of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia’s for Duma elections.

The party’s then leader, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, said of Mr Litvinenko’s death: “ Any traitor must be eliminated using any methods.

“If you have joined the special services to work, then you should work, but to betray, to run away abroad, to give up the secrets you learned while working — all of this looks bad.”

AP

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