By Luke Harding
1 November 2006. Alexander Litvinenko is overtly poisoned in crucial London. Twenty days later he dies, killed from the interior. The poison? Polonium; an extraordinary, deadly and hugely radioactive substance. His crime? He had made a few robust enemies in Russia.
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Extra info for A Very Expensive Poison
Alexander, could you go to Putin and tell him everything you have told me? And everything that you have not. ’ I was surprised. The Director of the FSB could surely find me if he wanted to see me. Nevertheless I called at his office. ’ asked his secretary. ‘We have been looking for you. ’ That was it, I thought, the system resists a newcomer. ‘I am on suspension,’ I said. ‘Come tomorrow morning. ’ Litvinenko spent that night ‘drawing up a scheme for Putin’. It contained everything he knew about organised crime and corruption, including the principal mob groups with their areas of activity.
Felshtinsky had returned to the States. While in New York, Goldfarb had called a staffer at the US security council who dealt with Russia. He had told his contact he planned to bring a Russian defector to the US’s Turkish embassy. The staffer was appalled and told him: ‘Don’t do this. You’re not a pro. It’s dangerous! ’ Undeterred, the party turned up at the US mission in Ankara. The embassy had been pre-warned. A consular official checked their documents, took their cell phones and escorted them to a secure sound-proof glass room guarded by marines – the ‘bubble’.
They were giving me very, very short answers,’ Scott said. Their replies offered ‘no information’. Scott looked on the internet but couldn’t find Global Project. The Russians told him that their business meeting was with ‘Continental Petroleum Limited’, a company based at 58 Grosvenor Street in London. Scott rang the firm’s landline. A man answered, confirmed they were registered with the UK’s financial authority. OK, then. The constable checked the police database. Nothing. Britain’s intelligence agencies, MI5 and MI6, hadn’t flagged Lugovoi and Kovtun either.
A Very Expensive Poison by Luke Harding