Litvinenko judge slams 'charade' of suspect's testimony bid

AP News
Posted: Jul 28, 2015 7:21 AM
Litvinenko judge slams 'charade' of suspect's testimony bid

LONDON (AP) — The British judge investigating the radioactive poisoning death of former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko is accusing Russian authorities or a key suspect of interfering with his inquiry.

Robert Owen spoke after suspect Dmitry Kovtun failed to give evidence Tuesday.

Kovtun had offered to testify by video link from Russia, but at the last minute said he was bound by confidentiality obligations to an ongoing Russian inquiry.

Owen said that either Kovtun's offer of participation had been "a charade" or "obstacles have been put in the way of his doing so."

Litvinenko, a KGB officer-turned-Kremlin critic, died in London in 2006 after drinking tea laced with radioactive polonium-210. On his deathbed, Litvinenko blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin.

British police have accused two Russians, Kovtun and Andrei Lugovoi. Both deny involvement.