Dec 28 2006

New Suspect In Litvinenko Incident

There is a new suspect in the Litvinenko incident – a Russian who travelled with Kovtun from Hamburg to London on November 1st and met up with Kovtun in London later that day. And now the admitting this incident is associated with smuggling of Polonium-210 into London

Detectives investigating the murder of Alexander Litvinenko are trying to trace a Russian businessman who flew to Britain at the same time as a consignment of deadly polonium-210 was allegedly smuggled into London.

The man was spotted on a flight from Hamburg sitting beside Dimtri Kovtun, another Russian whom German police are investigating for trafficking the radioactive material used to poison the former KGB spy.

Officers have studied CCTV footage from airports at Hamburg and London and are understood to believe that the two men were travelling together. However, the mystery figure disappeared after leaving Heathrow with Mr Kovtun. The name he used on the flight and the passport presented to immigration officials does not show up on any hotel register in the capital. It is believed that he met up again with Mr Kovtun in London on November 1, the day Litvinenko fell ill.

I can only repeat the facts. The dosage of Polonium-210 that killed Litvinenko was smaller than a grain of salt. There were evidentally three ‘consignments’ of Polonium-210 smuggled into London on Oct 16th, Oct 25th and Oct 31st-Nov 1st. It is incredibly doubtful the Polonium trail reported to date reflects even a fraction of one ‘consignment’, even if each one was the size of a sugar packet. So we have to assume there is more Polonium still to be found.

The fact auhtorities are giving out this information is interesting. It could mean they are on the trail of people that Lugovoi and Kovtun tipped authorities towards. If Kovtun and Lugovoi did enter into plea agreements, which seems reasonable, then who was this mystery man? My guess is they do not know, but he would be associated with the owner of the material being smuggled. If Lugovoi was heading up the smuggling itself, this person would be the eyes and ears of the person whose goods were being smuggled. And that person may be associated with Litvinenko or Berezovsky.

I find it interesting there is no record of this person in any hotels. That implies the man has a home and may be a resident of London or the surrounding area. He could be one of the thousands of Russian exiles in the UK. But it definitely seems leads were provided by Kovtun:

German police are puzzled why no polonium-210 was found on the Germanwings flight that Mr Kovtun and the mystery Russian travelled on to London.

Actually, the answer is quite obvious. It is possible the man with Kovtun contaminated him as they sat next to each other, or as the departed at the airport. There are a myriad of scenarios that could work. Including an effort to plant evidence on Kovtun as a diversion. But it seems the Polonium-210 took two independent paths to London:

The British team is reportedly still seeking more information from Mr Kovtun and Andrei Lugovoy, his business partner. Polonium-210 was discovered on two British flights on which Mr Lugovoy travelled to London in October. On October 25, he took BA 875 and stayed at the Sheraton Park Lane. Radiation was found at both locations. It was also found on BA 872, which Mr Lugovoy took on October 31, and at the Millenium Hotel, in Grosvenor Square, where he and Mr Kovtun stayed and where they entertained Litvinenko.

Was it one consignment or two then? Clearly Lugovoi was contaminated on his two trips, and apparently on Oct 16th when he contaminated the Park Lane hotel.

Experts also isolated traces at a third hotel, the Parkes in Knightsbridge, where both men stayed during another trip to London from October 16 to 18 when they flew on Transaero, the Russian carrier.

The more trails the more Polonium that entered the UK in October.

22 responses so far

22 Responses to “New Suspect In Litvinenko Incident”

  1. Koba says:

    Enlightened is of course correct to say that a smuggling ring does not resolve the ultimate purpose of the smuggling and presumably is consistent with assassination, but I would add some qualifications.

    The odd use of Polonium-210, the amount, the number of consignments and the extended period over which it was being carried do mitigate against the individual assassination theory but not against the possibility of an attempt at multiple assassination – the so-called “nest hit” theory. This would involve an attempt at taking out an entire network by poisoning a number of people over a period of days or even weeks. Polonium might be used in a nest hit because it would not be traced until it was too late and the slow poisoning/death of victims would provide the opportunity to target others in the network. Otherwise why not just use a bullet and make it look like a robbery or mugging that has gone wrong? If we assume a nest hit that went wrong it would be consistent with most of the evidence so far.

    However, I would still think that a variation of either the nuclear trigger or dirty bomb scenario appears more likely. We have the confluence of former Russian government and intelligence officers, dubious “security” companies, links to Chechen Islamists, the appearance of people (like Scaramella) with some claimed expertise in nuclear weapons and nuclear materials and the smuggling of a substance which would be highly unusual as a weapon for assassination. So on balance I would speculate that Berezovsky’s network was providing the procurement, security and technical support for Islamists, either for the Chechens directly or with the Chechens acting as the link to Islamists in London.

    The latter possibility might explain stories like this which have surfaced in recent weeks, this one from today (December 29):

    “The government is increasing the number of police officers trained to deal with chemical, biological or radiation “dirty bombs”, the BBC has learned.”

    This confirms an initial report not long after Litvinenko’s death. Note that the spokeswoman also said the move “was not in response to any specific threat,” though we might expect them to say that anyway.

  2. Adapt says:

    All it takes is one sleeper in a group to execute a nest hit. If I was a KGB and they gave me the task of taking down the Berezovsky gang, This whole idea will be ideal, there is no fingerprints, its just contamination everywhere of a rare untracable deadly substance. It was very very sloopy in an intentional way. We are talking about ex-spys of russia, these guys are trained not to make mistakes. They are being under estimated, they are professionals, that never even leave footprints at the crime scene, let alone radiation everywhere. I am sure they are highly trained in the handling of radioactive material, this has to be Russian 101. The smuggling theory throws everyone off, but my only fact against that, is the Berezovsky is already a billionaire, why would he feel the need to do dirty transactions at this point in his impressive career. The KGB really put a lot of thought into this and executed thier plan perfectly. Kuvton is probably still an actice KGB officer, that is why he is in russia, with a beer in one hand and a red medal in the other. London cannot touch Kuvton, because russia will protect him, they clearly said that they will not extradite any russian citizens. It was a perfect hit with government support. Litvinenko had just became a british citizen and it was the Kremlin’s way of saying congratulations to a former KGB. This definately sent the signal to all of those who oppose Putin, now they have to watch what they eat, and fear of dying from radiation poisening.