Terror tip off may explain Litvinenko murder, inquiry told

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POISONED SPY Alexander Litvinenko tipped off authorities about an alleged Russian-backed plan to launch a terror attack in Italy, an inquiry has heard.

Italian journalist and politician Paolo Guzzanti said he believed a motive for Mr Litvinenko’s murder was that he provided information to the Mitrokhin Commission, which was investigating the KGB’s links in Italy.

Giving evidence to the inquiry into Mr Litvinenko’s death by video link at the Royal Courts of Justice, Mr Guzzanti, who was president of the commission, claimed Mr Litvinenko told security consultant Mario Scaramella that weapons were being transported from Ukraine to Naples and he provided the registration number of the vehicle.

He said: “Litvinenko was aware of a traffic of weapons, unknown weapons - chemical weapons, nuclear weapons or just pistol guns, nobody knew - coming from Ukraine to Naples. (It was) probably intended to be used for a terrorist attack. These words were from Scaramella, coming from Litvinenko.”

Two Ukrainian men were later arrested after two grenades were found in hollowed-out bibles in a vehicle, the hearing was told.

“These arms were supposed to be travelling to an ex-KGB or current KGB agent, a refugee, illegally living in Naples,” Mr Guzzanti added. “The newspapers suggested it was probably for a terrorist attack on the Mitrokhin Commission.”

He went on: “I’m sure that Litvinenko was killed. You ask by whom but that’s another chapter.”

Mr Litvinenko, 43, died nearly three weeks after he consumed tea laced with polonium-210 on November 1, 2006 at the Millennium Hotel in London’s Grosvenor Square.

Inquiry chairman Sir Robert Owen said yesterday that he will grant one of the men accused of the Russian’s murder, Dimitri Kovtun, chance to give evidence if he meets provides a full witness statement and discloses any relevant material. The inquiry was adjourned until July 27.