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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lugovoi Skeptical Fair Trial Possible

ReutersAndrei Lugovoi
Former FSB officer Andrei Lugovoi said Friday that he doubted he could get a fair trial in Britain if he was prosecuted for the poisoning of former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko.

Lugovoi told Ekho Moskvy radio that the British media had whipped up such a hysteria that almost everyone in Britain thought he was involved in Litvinenko's murder.

When asked if he was afraid to travel to Britain, Lugovoi said: "There is an understanding in the British legal system of a fair trial."

"The madness that we have seen in the British media has got to such levels that if a poll was taken in Britain, 99 people out of a hundred would say we were guilty of this murder," he said.

"So we need to understand whether it is worth meeting with people who from the start are inclined and prepared to make us scapegoats," Lugovoi said.

Litvinenko died in a London hospital on Nov. 23 last year after being poisoned with a lethal dose of polonium 210.

He issued a deathbed statement accusing President Vladimir Putin of ordering his murder.

The Kremlin has dismissed the allegations as nonsense.

British detectives investigating the murder said last month they had handed a file on the case to prosecutors, who said they would examine it in detail before deciding whether any charges would be brought.

Lugovoi said British newspaper reports that he was a suspect in the case were wrong and misleading.

He said he was a witness who had cooperated in hours of interviews with British and Russian detectives.

"We are in talks with several respected British legal firms," Lugovoi told the radio station.

"I don't rule out anything, including a trip to London."

Lugovoi met Litvinenko at the Millennium Hotel in London's Grosvenor Square on Nov. 1 with another Russian, Dmitry Kovtun. Later that day, Litvinenko complained of feeling ill and was admitted to hospital shortly afterward.

"Kovtun feels fine though he is undergoing tests. He has changed his image a little," Lugovoi said, apparently referring to Kovtun's lack of hair.

Lugovoi, who said he had been skiing with Kovtun in southern Russia, declined to say whether he or Kovtun had been treated for polonium poisoning.

Billionaire businessman Boris Berezovsky said in a BBC interview that Litvinenko had told him he suspected Lugovoi of being involved in his poisoning.

Lugovoi said he had spoken to Berezovsky, a leading Putin critic who lives in London, for 20 minutes after the interview. He said he considered Berezovsky had spoken "not entirely his own point of view."

Lugovoi used to work as head of security for Berezovsky.