Lawyer: Kremlin critic killed by radiation poisoning worked for UK's MI6 spy agency

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Associated Press

Posted on December 13, 2012 at 2:32 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 13 at 2:33 PM

LONDON (AP) — A British inquest into the poisoning death of Alexander Litvinenko has heard claims that the former Russian agent was working for British foreign intelligence at the time of his death.

A lawyer respresenting Litvinenko's widow told an official hearing in London today that the Russian was a "registered and paid" agent for MI6 and had been tasked with helping Spanish intelligence investigate the Russian mafia.

A representative of Britain's Home Office told the hearing he could neither confirm nor deny that Litvinenko was employed by British intelligence.

The 43-year-old Russian died in November 2006 after drinking tea laced with the rare radioactive isotope polonium-210 at a London hotel. On his deathbed, Litvinenko accused the Kremlin, and specifically Russian President Vladimir Putin, of being behind his killing.

At today's hearing, a lawyer who advises the coroner said a "high-level assessment" of confidential material provided by the British government shows the Russian government was behind Litvinenko's poisoning.

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