Andrey Lugovoy

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Andrey Lugovoy.

Andrey Konstantinovich Lugovoy (Russian: Андре́й Константи́нович Лугово́й; born September 19, 1966, Baku, Azerbaijan SSR) is a Russian politician and businessman and deputy of the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament for the LDPR. He is a former KGB bodyguard and the ex-head of the security firm "Ninth Wave". He is wanted by British police on suspicion of the murder of Alexander Litvinenko. Russia has rejected the request for his extradition.[1]

KGB and security services career[edit]

Born in 1966 in Baku, Lugovoy attended the elite Soviet military command academy in Moscow.[2][3] In 1987, Lugovoy joined the KGB's 9th directorate which provided security for top state officials. He was a platoon commander for five years and then served as a commander in the Kremlin regiment's training company. In 1991 he was transferred to the Federal Protective Service of Russia until his resignation at the end of 1996. During this time he provided security for Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar, the head of the presidential administration Sergey Filatov and Foreign Minister Andrey Kozyrev.

Lugovoy went on to work in the private security business. For several years he was head of security at the private television company ORT, then owned by now fugitive tycoons Boris Berezovsky and Badri Patarkatsishvili. In 2001, Lugovoy was arrested and charged with organizing the escape of Nikolai Glushkov, a former deputy director-general of Aeroflot arrested in 2000 on fraud charges.

Alexander Litvinenko poisoning[edit]

Lugovoy met with Litvinenko on the day Litvinenko fell ill (November 1, 2006). Litvinenko died later in November from radiation poisoning caused by polonium-210, and on May 22, 2007 British officials charged Lugovoy with Litvinenko's murder, announcing they would seek his extradition from Russia. Russia declined to extradite Lugovoy, citing that extradition of citizens is not allowed under the Russian constitution. Russia said that they could take on the case themselves if Britain provided evidence against Lugovoy but that Britain has not handed over any evidence. The head of the investigating committee at the General Prosecutor's Office said Russia has not yet received any evidence from Britain on Lugovoy. "We have not received any evidence from London of Lugovoy's guilt, and those documents we have are full of blank spaces and contradictions."[4]

Lugovoy had visited London at least three times in the month before Litvinenko's death and met with him four times. Lugovoy met with Litvinenko on the day he fell ill (November 1). Traces of polonium-210 have been discovered in all three hotels where Lugovoy stayed after flying to London on October 16, in the Pescatori restaurant in Dover Street, Mayfair, where Lugovoy is understood to have dined before November 1, and aboard two aircraft on which he had travelled.[5][6] He was treated at a Moscow hospital for suspected radiation poisoning but declined to say whether he had been contaminated with polonium-210, the substance that led to Litvinenko's death on November 23, 2006.[7]

Lugovoy accused British intelligence agents of being behind the killing, and claimed MI6 had tried to recruit him to spy on Russia.[8] On October 27, 2007, the Daily Mail, citing unnamed "diplomatic and intelligence sources", stated that Litvinenko was paid about £2,000 per month by MI6 at the time of his murder.[9]

Timeline of Lugovoy involvement in Litvinenko poisoning[edit]

  • On November 30, 2006, Georgian tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili described Lugovoy as a "close friend" with whom he had been working for thirteen years. He said he hoped Lugovoy was innocent, but added that there is "no such thing as a former KGB agent."
  • On December 4, 2006, Lugovoy visited a hospital in Moscow for medical tests.
  • On December 9, 2006, Lugovoy was released from the hospital and declared to be in "satisfactory condition."[7]
  • On January 26, 2007, The Guardian reported that the British government was preparing an extradition request asking that Lugovoy be returned to the United Kingdom to stand trial for Litvinenko's murder.[10]
  • On February 5, 2007, Boris Berezovsky told the BBC that on his deathbed, Litvinenko said that Lugovoy was responsible for his poisoning.[11]
  • On May 22, 2007, British officials said they had called for an arrest warrant against Andrey Lugovoy in Litvinenko's death.[12]
  • On May 28, 2007 the British Foreign Office formally submitted a request for Lugovoy's extradition to the Russian Government.[13]
  • On May 22, 2007, Britain's Director of Public Prosecutions announced that Britain would seek extradition of Lugovoy and attempt to charge him with murdering Litvinenko. Russia has previously stated that it has no right to allow the extradition of any Russian citizen for trial in Britain.[14]
  • On May 28, 2007 a formal extradition request was given to Russia by Britain.[13] This was confirmed by both the British embassy in Moscow and the Russian prosecution office.
    • Lugovoy is quoted as saying he is a "victim not a perpetrator of a radiation attack", and he has called the charges "politically motivated".
    • The Constitution of Russia, like that of France, Germany, Austria, China, and Japan, forbids extradition of its citizens to foreign countries (Art. 61), so the request cannot be fulfilled.[15] Russian citizens can be convicted of crimes committed abroad by Russian courts in case foreign law agencies provide necessary evidence.
  • On May 31, 2007, Lugovoy held a news conference at which he accused MI6 of attempting to recruit him and blamed either MI6, the Russian mafia, or fugitive Kremlin opponent Boris Berezovsky for the killing.[16]
  • On July 4, 2007 Russia formally declined a UK request to extradite Lugovoy.[17]
  • On April 25, 2012, Lugovoy polygraph test ‘negative’. The Russian Hour TV documentary "Innocence Test" shows the Polygraph test and discusses it with Lugovoy.[18]

Political career[edit]

Following the interest in Lugovoy in regards to Litvinenko's death, on September 15, 2007, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), announced that Andrey Lugovoy would be in the second place after Zhirinovsky on his party's candidate list for the Duma election. This meant that Lugovoy could become a Russian MP in December 2007 and acquire parliamentary immunity.[19] Lugovoy himself confirmed that he would take part in the following Duma election[20] and on September 17, 2007, during a Liberal Democratic Party of Russia meeting, has also said he would like to bid for the Kremlin run.[21] On reacting to Litvinenko's death, Zhirinovsky said: Any traitor must be eliminated using any methods. If you have joined the special services to work, then you should work, but to betray, to run away abroad, to give up the secrets you learned while working — all of this looks bad.[22] Sergei Abeltsev, Zhirinovsky's former bodyguard and State Duma member from the LDPR, also stated: The deserved punishment reached the traitor. I am sure his terrible death will be a warning to all the traitors that in Russia the treason is not to be forgiven. I would recommend to citizen Berezovsky to avoid any food at the commemoration for his crime accomplice Litvinenko.[23]

On December 10, 2007, British Ambassador in Moscow Tony Brenton voiced regret over Andrey Lugovoy's election to the State Duma, saying: "It is a pity that a man wanted for murder gains political recognition. It does Russia no good at all to have Lugovoy there in the parliament. It continues the suspicion. If he steps a foot out of Russia he will be arrested. We want him."[24]

In December 2008 Lugovoy voiced support for harsher laws against dissent in Russia. He told the Spanish newspaper El País: "If someone has caused the Russian state serious damage, they should be exterminated [...] Do I think someone could have killed Litvinenko in the interests of the Russian State? If you're talking about the interests of the Russian State, in the purest sense of the word, I myself would have given that order." He then clarified himself: "I'm not talking about Litvinenko but about any person who causes serious damage."[25] He named President Saakashvili of Georgia and the KGB defector Gordievsky as examples.[26]

On March 13, 2009 LDPR announced they plan to nominate Lugovoy for the elections of Mayor of Sochi.[27] However, on March 24, Lugovoy announced his decision not to run and instead to remain an MP in the State Duma.[28]

References[edit]

  1. ^ No UK charges against Russian oligarch who called for 'revolution'", The Guardian, July 5, 2007.
  2. ^ Prime suspect
  3. ^ Луговой: Сейчас я – заметная фигура (Russian)
  4. ^ RIA Novosti. Lugovoy says innocent, Berezovsky behind Litvinenko murder
  5. ^ Litvinenko inquiry closes in on suspected killers[dead link] The Independent. January 6, 2007. By Jason Bennetto, Crime Correspondent
  6. ^ Police believe Litvinenko poisoned twice The Daily Telegraph. January 6, 2007. By David Harrison, Sunday Telegraph
  7. ^ a b Litvinenko murder witness leaves hospital Reuters. January 10, 2007 archived at [1]
  8. ^ Russia Refuses To Extradite Spy Suspect |Sky News|World News[dead link]
  9. ^ Daily Mail (October 27, 2007). "Revealed: Poisoned ex-Russian spy Litvinenko WAS a paid-up MI6 agent". Retrieved December 6, 2011. 
  10. ^ UK wants to try Russian for Litvinenko murder The Guardian. January 26, 2007
  11. ^ Litvinenko friend breaks silence BBC, February 5, 2007
  12. ^ Britain charges Lugovoi in death of spy[dead link] Associated Press. May 22, 2007
  13. ^ a b UK requests Lugovoi extradition BBC News
  14. ^ "British Prosecutors to Press Murder Charges in Litvinenko Case". Voice of America. May 22, 2007. Archived from the original on May 24, 2007. Retrieved May 22, 2007. 
  15. ^ The Constitution of the Russian Federation. Chapter 2. Rights and Freedoms of Man and Citizen
  16. ^ "UK 'behind Litvinenko poisoning'", BBC News, 05-31-2007.
  17. ^ "No UK charges against Russian oligarch who called for 'revolution'", The Guardian, July 5, 2007.
  18. ^ [2] "Innocence Test" Russian Hour TV 2012
  19. ^ Lib Dems say Lugovoy will contest Duma seat[dead link] Russia Today. September 15, 2007
  20. ^ Litvinenko murder suspect confirms plans to stand for election RIA Novosti. September 16, 2007
  21. ^ Lugovoy Running For Parliament, Eyes Presidency Radio Free Europe. September 17, 2007
  22. ^ Former KGB Agent Dies[dead link] Associated Press. November 24, 2006
  23. ^ (Russian)"Address to Duma by Sergei Abeltsev". Duma. November 25, 2006. Retrieved September 20, 2007. [dead link]
  24. ^ "British Ambassador Warns Lugovoi". Reuters. December 10, 2007. Retrieved December 12, 2007. [dead link]
  25. ^ Anyone harming Russia should be exterminated, says Andrei Lugovoy. The Times. December 16, 2008
  26. ^ (Russian) Луговой считает, что Саакашвили можно было бы уничтожить в интересах российского государства (Lugovoy thinks Saakashvili can be exterminated in the interests of the Russian state). Interfax. December 16, 2008
  27. ^ Gorodetskaya, Natalya (March 14, 2009). "Партия отправляет Андрея Лугового на курорт". Kommersant. Archived from the original on March 17, 2009. Retrieved March 18, 2009. 
  28. ^ "Lugovoi drops out of mayoral race". BBC. March 24, 2009. Retrieved April 25, 2010. 

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