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.