German Prosecutor Drops Case against Litvinenko Poison Suspect Kovtun

Crime | November 12, 2009, Thursday // 15:47|  views

German prosecutors have dropped charges against Dmitri Kovtun (L) in the Litvinenko poison case. Andrei Lugovi (R) is still sought by the UK government. Photo by BGNES

German investigators have dropped their case against Dmitri Kovtun, the Russian national suspected of involvement in the 2006 poisoning of dissident Alexander Litvinenko.

Litvinenko died after being poisoned with the radioactive substance polonium-210.

His death occurred after he had taken tea in London with two Russians, Kovtun and the chief suspect Andrei Lugovoi.

Traces of polonium had been discovered in a Hamburg apartment used by Kovtun, but prosecutors decided there was insufficient evidence show that he had taken it there. They had been preparing to press a charge of “preparing to commit an offence involving radioactivity”.

Both Kovtun and Lugovoi haddenied they had anything to do with the death of Alexander Litvinenko.

Kovtun welcomed the German authorities' decision announced Thursday, to drop the case, calling it "a triumph of justice".

Lugovoi, a Russian State Duma deputy, commented that “the fact that Dmitry Kovtun has been cleared of all charges in Germany must radically change the course of the investigation into the Litvinenko case”.

This was a reference to the fact that the UK government continues to seek the extradition from Russia of Mr Lugovoi. Russia has refused, saying the constitution does not allow it, and the issue has strained relations between London and Moscow.

Lugovi added that he fully supports Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's recent statement that Russia expects the United Kingdom to restore British-Russian relations.

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Tags: Alexander Litvinenko, radioactivity, polonium, Dmitri Kovtun, Andrei Lugovi, Germany, Russia


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