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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Litvinenko Said to Have Been in Desperate Need of Money

In the months preceding his death, former Federal Security Service agent Alexander Litvinenko desperately needed money due to his "allowance" having been dramatically cut, Dmitry Kovtun, a Litvinenko associate, was reported by Izvestia as saying.

Litvinenko died Nov. 23 in London after having been poisoned with the radioactive isotope polonium-210.

"He was telling me back in the summer that his allowance had been cut down by three times ... to 1,500 [British pounds]," Kovtun said of Litvinenko. That figure equals about $2,930.

"I can tell you that the issue of money interested him very much, was a defining factor," said Kovtun, who is undergoing treatment for radiation poisoning himself and has been interviewed by Russian and British investigators.

Kovtun did not say who was paying Litvinenko his allowance, believed to have been a monthly stipend. Exiled business tycoon Boris Berezovsky and his associates helped Litvinenko flee Russia and, for a time, supported him.

It was Litvinenko's need for cash that apparently prompted him to contact Kovtun, who works for a private security firm in Russia and offered to help arrange contact between Litvinenko and several British firms for a commission.

Kovtun and his associate, Andrei Lugovoi, met with Litvinenko in a London hotel Nov. 1, the same day the former security service agent fell ill.

German authorities have found traces of polonium-210 in several locations in Hamburg, Germany, which Kovtun visited before he flew on to London for his meeting with Litvinenko. Interfax reported that authorities were prompted to question Kovtun a second time by the developments in Germany.

In his interview with Izvestia, Kovtun confirmed he had been questioned twice.

Gennady Onishchenko, the country's top health inspector, told Interfax Monday night that his agency continued to check planes flying between Moscow and Hamburg for radiation.

On Tuesday, the Prosecutor General's Office confirmed that British investigators had ended their investigation in Moscow, The Associated Press reported. The investigators, who arrived Dec. 4, "were shown complete and all-around assistance," the Prosecutor General's Office said in a statement.

The British Embassy offered no immediate comment.