Litvinenko spy contact findings to remain secret

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PARTS of a police report on whether murdered Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko had contact with the British intelligence service before he died will be kept secret at the Government’s request, it emerged yesterday.

The Metropolitan Police investigated whether Mr Litvinenko was in touch with MI6 prior to his death in November 2006, a pre-inquest review hearing was told.

Counsel for the inquest Hugh Davies said the contents of the police report are known to his team and to the coroner, Sir Robert Owen.

However, they will not be disclosed to the other interested parties represented at the inquest, at the request of the Government.

Mr Davies said the redaction, “should not be taken as indicating one way or the other whether Mr Litvinenko did indeed have any such contact”.

Mr Litvinenko, 43, was poisoned with polonium-210 while drinking tea at a meeting, allegedly with two Russians – former KGB contacts Andrei Lugovoy and Dmitry Kovtun – at the Millennium Hotel in London’s Grosvenor Square.

At the start of yesterday’s hearing, held to establish how the inquest will be conducted, Sir Robert said: “It has been almost six years since his death in November 2006. Such a delay is regrettable.

“There will be no further delay. It is manifestly in the interests of the interested persons, in particular his widow Marina Litvinenko and his son Anatoli Litvinenko, of the other interested persons and in the wider public interest that the inquest is brought to a conclusion with due expedition.

“It’s my intention to commence the substantive hearings at the first practicable opportunity as early in 2013 as is consistent with the completion of the necessary preparatory steps.”

Any redactions in evidence – where certain material is blacked out – will be approved by the coroner in advance, the hearing was told, and the police report is expected to be given to interested parties in the next two weeks.

The next preparatory hearings for the inquest will take place in November and December.

Speaking outside the hearing, Mrs Litvinenko said: “I believe we will get justice in Britain. Any truth is very important for all of us, my friends, my family and the public.

“It was a British citizen killed here, a British soul, a killing that had never happened before. I’m not a politician, I’m a woman who lost her husband and I want to know what happened.”