Litvinenko was working for UK, Spanish intelligence when he was killed
December 14, 2012 2 Comments
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A lawyer representing the family of a KGB defector to Britain, who died of poisoning in 2006, has told a court hearing in London that the late spy was working for British and Spanish intelligence at the time of his death. Alexander Litvinenko was an employee of the Soviet KGB and one of its successor organizations, the FSB, until 2000, when he defected with his family to the United Kingdom. He soon became known as a vocal critic of the administration of Russian President Vladimir Putin. In 2006, Litvinenko came down with radioactive poisoning soon after meeting a former KGB/FSB colleague, Andrey Lugovoy, at a London restaurant. Speaking at a preliminary court hearing on Thursday, in light of an upcoming British government inquiry into Litvinenko’s death, Ben Emmerson, QC, said that the late Russian spy was a “registered and paid” asset of the Secret Intelligence Service. This is not the first time that Litvinenko has been linked to the SIS —known informally as MI6— Britain’s external spy agency. Litvinenko’s widow, Marina, made similar claims to the British press in January of this year. But yesterday’s testimony by her legal team provided the public record with further revelations about her husband’s connections with British intelligence. The court heard that Litvinenko received a regular stipend from MI6 either in cash or via electronic transfer and that he had been provided with an encrypted telephone, which MI6 used to contact him on a routine basis. The night before his poisoning, said Emmerson, Litvinenko had met his MI6 handler, who went by the operational alias MARTIN. The court was also told that, at the time of his death, Litvinenko had been helping Spanish intelligence investigate Russian mafia operations in Spain, at the request of MI6. According to his widow’s legal team, Litvinenko had been providing intelligence to Spanish government prosecutor José Grinda González, known in Spain for investigating Russian organized crime. But the British government’s legal counsel in the case, Neil Garnham, QC, told the court that he could “neither confirm nor deny” that Litvinenko had been an employee of MI6. British newspaper The Independent contacted the British Home Office, which also refused comment on the allegations. The public inquest into Litvinenko’s murder is scheduled for May of 2013.