Sunday, December 24, 2006

Spy saga - Scaramella faces arms charges

Mario Scaramella, the friend of Alexander Litvinenko who died in November following radiation poisoning, has been arrested in Italy. The charges relate to arms smuggling and there is no suggestion he was involved in Mr Litvinenko’s death, but it adds a further twist to an already complex saga. British detectives who have been in Moscow are said to have completed their investigation in the country but there has been little news coverage of any new developments made in the case [BBC].
The BBC reported on the 16th of December that Litvinenko may have been killed over a dossier of information he held on powerful Kremlin officials. This came shortly after Marina Litvinenko, the former spy’s wife, accused the Kremlin of ordering her husband’s assassination [BBC].
The continuing investigation and search for radioactive traces of Polonium have revealed traces in a number of locations in Germany. These were said to be places where Dmitry Kovtun had visited following his meeting with Litvinenko in London. He himself is being treated at a Moscow hospital for radiation poisoning. Kovtun, a business associate of Andei Lugovoi, another ex-KGB officer, has denied any involvement in Litvinenko’s death. Lugovoi has also denied involvement in Mr Litvinenko’s death, but has not been talked to by UK detectives. Another man who also met with Litvinenko, Vyacheslav Sokolenko, also denies any involvement in the poisoning. Meanwhile, it has emerged that seven bar staff who were working at the Millennium Hotel's Pine Bar on 1 November have tested positive for low levels of polonium-210 [BBC]

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