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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Berezovsky: Litvinenko Had Suspected Lugovoi

LONDON -- Billionaire Boris Berezovsky said former agent Alexander Litvinenko had told him he suspected businessman Andrei Lugovoi of being involved in his poisoning.

Berezovsky, a leading Kremlin critic who lives in exile in Britain, said in a BBC interview Monday that he was willing to speak to Russian and British authorities about the death of Litvinenko, whom he described as a friend who once saved his life.

Litvinenko died Nov. 23 in London from radiation poisoning caused by polonium-210. In a deathbed statement, he accused President Vladimir Putin of ordering his murder -- an allegation dismissed by the Kremlin.

Berezovsky, who visited Litvinenko in the hospital, said: "[Litvinenko] said: 'Boris, you know that I think that Lugovoi is involved in my poisoning.'"

Lugovoi, a former KGB agent who met Litvinenko in a London hotel Nov. 1, the day Litvinenko first fell ill, has denied any guilt. Last month, he dismissed media reports that Britain was preparing to demand his extradition over the poisoning.

Lugovoi was treated at a Moscow hospital after Litvinenko's death for what some Russian media said was radiation sickness. He has been questioned by British detectives.

Berezovsky said he was ready to meet with British or Russian authorities about Litvinenko's death but that Scotland Yard had not asked him.

"I initiate this idea for Scotland Yard people and tell them I am absolutely open to meet people from Russia if it helps to investigate Alexander's case," he said.

Last month, Russian prosecutors denied halting an investigation into accusations that Berezovsky planned to stage a coup in Russia.

Berezovsky, who fled Russia for Britain in 2000 after falling foul of Putin, told journalists in January 2006 that he had been planning a forced takeover of power in Russia.

Russian prosecutors opened an investigation, and Jack Straw, then the British foreign minister, warned Berezovsky that his residency status could be reviewed if he continued to call for a coup.

Prosecutors asked Britain last March to extradite Berezovsky, who helped Putin come to power during the last days of former President Boris Yeltsin's rule.