31/10/2014 18:43
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Russian tycoon offers help to Litvinenko case figures

19:30 05/04/2007
LONDON, April 5 (RIA Novosti) - Exiled Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky Thursday pledged legal and other support for two key figures involved in the case of the murdered former secret agent Alexander Litvinenko.

Earlier Thursday, Russian businessmen Andrei Lugovoy and Dmitri Kovtun approached Berezovsky with a request for help in winning compensation for physical and moral damages allegedly sustained as the result of Litvinenko's poisoning with a radioactive substance, Polonium-210, last November.

They applied for assistance two days after the tycoon announced the establishment of a foundation in memory of Litvinenko.

Kovtun and Lugovoy met with Litvinenko in a London bar November 1, the day he fell ill. In December, both were briefly hospitalized for suspected radiation poisoning.

The men have since been interviewed several times by British investigators probing the case, but they maintain they were questioned as witnesses, not as suspects.

"If Lugovoy and Kovtun believe they are victims, our foundation will by all means help them, as well as others," Berezovsky said. "We are willing to provide every kind of assistance for Kovtun and Lugovoy, primarily legal, in upholding their rights."

Berezovsky, who believes the ex-spy's murder was orchestrated by the Kremlin, said the Litvinenko Justice Foundation will press for a fair investigation of the case while also helping its victims with legal aid, including to receive financial compensation envisaged by British law.

However, he said the organization would not itself make payouts.

A long-time critic of President Vladimir Putin and his associates, Berezovsky was granted political asylum in the U.K. in 2003 after fleeing prosecution in his home country on charges of fraud.

Russian prosecutors investigating the Litvinenko case interviewed Berezovsky in London last week.

The Litvinenko Justice Foundation is a collaborative project launched by Berezovsky, along with Litvinenko's widow, Marina, as well as Russian human rights activist Alexander Goldfarb and British human rights lawyer Louise Christian.

Berezovsky has contributed 500,000 British pounds to the project.

More than 700 people in the U.K., Russia and Germany have been tested for Polonium-210 after British forensic doctors confirmed the substance had been the cause of Litvinenko's death. The tests revealed relatively high doses of Polonium in 17 of those examined.

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RIA NovostiRussian tycoon offers help to Litvinenko case figures

19:30 05/04/2007 Exiled Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky Thursday pledged legal and other support for two key figures involved in the case of the murdered former secret agent Alexander Litvinenko. >>

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