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Germans investigating Moscow link in poisoning

Mon., Dec. 11, 2006

HAMBURG, Germany – German prosecutors said Sunday they are investigating a Russian businessman for the illegal handling of a radioactive substance in the days after he flew to Germany from Russia and before he left to meet a former Russian internal security agent in London. The development is the strongest indication so far that the plot to poison Alexander Litvinenko in London began in Moscow.

At a news conference, German officials said Dmitry Kovtun, who reportedly lies sick in a Moscow hospital, flew to Hamburg from Moscow on Oct. 28 before heading to London on Nov. 1, the day he met Litvinenko in a bar at the Millennium Hotel.

Hamburg’s chief prosecutor, Martin Koehnke, said traces of radioactivity found in and around Hamburg and linked to Kovtun’s movements before Nov. 1 suggested he carried the substance to Germany.

Litvinenko died Nov. 23 after blaming Russian President Vladimir Putin for the poisoning. The Kremlin has vehemently denied involvement.


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