Berezovsky says Putin ‘involved’ in Litvinenko murder


London : Exiled Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky Wednesday repeated his claim that the Russian state – and President Vladimir Putin – were directly involved in the radioactive poisoning of ex-agent Alexander Litvinenko.

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Speaking on BBC radio, Berezovsky, who lives in London and has been granted refugee status by the British authorities, also said that Andrei Lugovoy, the Russian businessman Britain wants to put on trial for murder, would never be allowed to face trial in Britain.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said Tuesday there was sufficient evidence to charge Lugovoy, a former KGB agent and associate of Berezovsky, with the murder of Litvinenko.

Lugovoy has denied any involvement and the Russian Prosecutor General's Office has rejected a British request for his extradition.

Russia, for its part, has repeatedly asked for Berezovsky to be handed over for trial on fraud charges, but the request has been rejected by Britain.

Berezovsky, a vocal critic of Putin, told the BBC Wednesday that the polonium-210 isotope used to kill Litvinenko last November could never have been acquired, or transported, without state support.

"It is impossible to produce polonium without state support and impossible to transport polonium … without state support," he said.

"It can't have happened without his (Putin's) personal involvement and that's exactly what Alexander (Litvinenko) told me in the hospital."

"Because of that, Lugovoy will never be extradited to London, and on the other hand I think Lugovoy's life is in danger, because it is an absolutely typical KGB way to solve the problem, to kill the witness of the crime," said Berezovsky, who gave the interview during a visit to Israel.