Suspect in Poisoned Spy Case May Run for Mayor of Olympic Town

The prime suspect in the poisoning death of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko is poised to run for mayor of the Russian city of Sochi, which will host the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Authorities in the U.K. have recommended charging Andrei Lugovoi in the 2006 murder, in which a radioactive chemical was placed into a hotel teapot, but the Russians have said they would deny any extradition requests for Lugovoi.

Litvinenko, a former spy living in London, was murdered in November 2006 when he was poisoned with a deadly amount of Polonium-210 while drinking tea at London's Millennium Hotel.

British investigators concluded, based on forensic evidence and intelligence reports, that the murder was a "state-sponsored" assassination orchestrated by Russian security services. Litvinenko was an outspoken critic of the Kremlin.

Russian officials, as well as Lugovoi himself, have denied any involvement in the murder.

Since the murder, Lugovoi, a former KGB bodyguard, has become a member of Russian Parliament and his bid for mayor will reportedly be backed by the Liberal Democratic Party.

Sochi is a resort town in the south of Russia. The 2014 games are the first to be hosted by Russia.

Litvinenko's widow, Marina, released a statement today saying that should Lugovoi win, she would call for a boycott of the games.

"I would personally go from country to country to county urging people not to go to an event hosted by a murderer," she said.

A Bungled Murder

In the investigation following Litvinenko's murder, British officials said some 128 people were discovered to have had "probable contact" with Polonium-210, including at least eight hotel staff members and one guest. None displayed symptoms of radiation poisoning, but at least 13 tested at a level for which there may be long-term health effects.

For this reason, officials consider the murder to have been badly bungled. According to intelligence reports from the time, Russian officials did not expect the source of the poisoning to be discovered.

Click Here for the Blotter Homepage.

Comments