Witness implicates Berezovsky in Litvinenko murder

A new anonymous witness in the case of a former Russian security officer poisoned in London last year implicated U.K.-based Boris Berezovsky in an interview with state television Sunday.

Witness implicates Berezovsky in Litvinenko murder

A new anonymous witness in the case of a former Russian security officer poisoned in London last year implicated U.K.-based Boris Berezovsky in an interview with state television Sunday.

The witness, who appeared on the Rossiya channel with his face hidden and was referred to as Pyotr, accused 61-year-old Berezovsky of killing Alexander Litvinenko because the former security officer knew how the exiled tycoon had obtained political asylum in Britain in 2003.

Litvinenko, 44, died of radioactive poisoning in November in London shortly after he received a British passport. In his deathbed note, he blamed the Kremlin for his death, but the Kremlin denied the allegations.

The new witness, who also lives in London, told Russian television that Litvinenko, allegedly his acquaintance and an associate of Berezovsky, had offered him from 2 to 40 million pounds if he testified he had been sent to London to kill Berezovsky.

"You just say you were sent to murder Berezovsky with poison placed in a pen," Pyotr quoted Litvinenko as saying to him.

After he refused to cooperate, Berezovsky's associates put drugs into his coffee, and falsified an audio with his "confessions," Pyotr said. Litvinenko later produced the audio as evidence in court, which Pyotr said had secured Berezovsky the status of a political emigre.

In 1998, Litvinenko himself publicly told a news conference in Moscow that he had been ordered by his superiors at the Federal Security Service (FSB) to assassinate Berezovsky, who was a senior state official at the time. Pyotr said Berezovsky rewarded Litvinenko with financial support while he lived in London.

The mysterious witness said Scotland Yard agents were guarding him at the request of Russian prosecutors because he was afraid he could be poisoned like Litvinenko.

According to Russia's leading business daily Kommersant, Berezovsky, who is wanted in Russia on fraud charges, said the televised interview with Pyotr was an attempt by Russian authorities to "cover up the crime," making an apparent reference to Litvinenko's killing.

"If such a version existed as real, Scotland Yard would have long considered it and verified it at the beginning, rather than going to Moscow first thing," Berezovsky told the Ekho Moskvy radio station.

"I see this story as some sort of agony," Berezovsky was quoted in Kommersant as saying. He added there was something of a "comedy farce about it."

Kommersant also said the real name of the new witness was Vladimir Teplyuk. Berezovsky said he had recognized the man too.

"I know this person. He followed us in courts, and I even asked my security service to find out who he is," he said. "His name is Vladimir Teplyuk. Why did they hide his face?"

Scotland Yard and Russian prosecutors are investigating the Litvinenko poisoning case.

Source: RIA Novosti

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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