Litvinenko, Berezovsky spied for Britain says Lugovoi

By RIA Novosti

Moscow : Andrei Lugovoi, accused by Britain of poisoning to death former Russian intelligence officer Alexander Litvinenko, said Thursday Litvinenko and fugitive tycoon Boris Berezovsky worked for the British secret services.

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Britain applied Monday for the extradition from Russia of Lugovoi, a former security officer turned businessman, saying it had enough evidence to charge him with the murder of Litvinenko, Berezovsky's associate who died of radioactive poisoning in London in November.

"Today I would like to make an announcement, which should shed some light on this dark political story, where the main roles were played by the British secret service and their agents Berezovsky and the late Litvinenko," Lugovoi told a Moscow news conference.

He said British intelligence had also approached him with an offer of cooperation.

Russian prosecutors have refused to extradite Lugovoi, saying it was against Russian law. Moscow has also been seeking the extradition of Berezovsky, accused of fraud at home, from Britain where he has been based since 2001 and became a British citizen in 2003.

The British Embassy in Moscow responded to Lugovoi's allegations by saying that Litvinenko case was a criminal case rather than an intelligence issue. The embassy spokesman said Britain was waiting for an official and constructive response from Russia regarding the extradition request.

Berezovsky, who owns a private security firm, said he was ready to face Russian justice if Russian prosecutors found the evidence supplied by their British colleagues sufficient to charge him. He added he would also hire British lawyers to defend him.