Poisoned ex-Russian spy was 'MI6 agent' | world | Hindustan Times
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Poisoned ex-Russian spy was 'MI6 agent'

world Updated: Oct 27, 2007 14:33 IST

Former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, poisoned in a London hotel, was a British secret service agent.

Litvinenko worked for MI6 and was receiving a monthly retainership fee of 2,000 pounds from the agency at the time he was murdered, the 'Daily Mail' reported on Friday, quoting intelligence sources as saying here.

According to the unnamed sources, Sir John Scarlett, now the Head of MI6 and once based in Moscow, was involved in recruiting him to the secret intelligence service.

The disclosure is the latest twist in the Litvinenko affair which has plunged relations between Britain and Russia to their lowest point since the Cold War.

The former Russian spy, who had defected to Britain in 2000 and was granted political asylum the following year with his wife Marina (44) and son Anatoly (12), was poisoned on November one, last year, by prime suspect Andrei Lugovoy at the Millennium Hotel in Grosvenor Square in London.

After a Scotland Yard investigation, the Crown Prosecution Service had announced earlier this year that there was sufficient evidence to charge KGB agent-turned businessman Lugovoy with "deliberate poisoning" of his former colleague who was very critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Subsequently, Britain had called for his extradition so he could stand trial at the Old Bailey, but the Kremlin refused the request in July. In an echo of the Cold War era, Britain then expelled four Russian diplomats from London. Days later, Moscow responded with expulsion of four Britons.

"President Putin is providing Lugovoy with his personal endorsement and backing in the eyes of the world. This indicates that Russia has something to hide and adds credence to Alexander's deathbed statement naming Putin as the instigator of his murder," Litvinenko's wife had said.