Lugovoi Settles Libel Lawsuit

Andrei Lugovoi, the former Federal Guard Service officer wanted in Britain for the poisoning death of Alexander Litvinenko, settled a libel suit against the Kommersant daily Wednesday but scoffed at a separate case being initiated by Litvinenko's widow.

Kommersant will pay 1 million rubles ($41,100) to a charity of Lugovoi's choice for an article it published last summer.

Lugovoi's lawyer said the Kommersant story contained false information and offended the honor, dignity and business reputation of Lugovoi, who now runs a private security firm.

After the hearing, Lugovoi said he was pleased with the settlement and would donate the money to charity.

"The paper admits that it made an unintended mistake. All the demands we mentioned in the suit against Kommersant were fully met. Our victory is complete," Lugovoi said.

Britain wants to extradite Lugovoi for trial in the murder of Litvinenko, who was poisoned with radioactive polonium in a London hotel bar last year.

Lugovoi has repeatedly said he is innocent and is running on the ticket of the Liberal Democratic Party in the Dec. 2 State Duma elections. Russia has refused his extradition, citing a constitutional ban.

With the first anniversary of Litvinenko's Nov. 23 death approaching, Lugovoi said money was the motive behind an application launched with the European Court of Human Rights by Litvinenko's wife, Marina Litvinenko, linked to her husband's death

"They are just trying to earn money but not trying to find out what really happened," Lugovoi said.

Her claim will allege that Russia was actively involved in the murder, said Alexander Goldfarb, who co-authored a book, "Death of a Dissident," about the case with Marina Litvinenko. He dismissed Lugovoi's comments about the application to the Strasbourg-based court.

"Mr Lugovoi stands accused of murder and a terrorist attack," Goldfarb said.