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Friend Names Suspect in Spy Poisoning

Litvinenko said in interviews from his deathbed that he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin was behind his poisoning. Putin has dismissed the accusation as "nonsense."

Meanwhile, another person who met with Litvinenko on Nov. 1, the Italian security consultant Mario Scaramella, underwent hospital tests Sunday after he showed lower levels of the same radioactive substance that was found in Litvinenko's body.

University College Hospital said in a statement he was well and showing no external symptoms.

In an interview with Italy's RAI TG1 television news, Scaramella said doctors told him that his body contains five times the dose of polonium-210 considered deadly. "So my mood isn't the best," he told the channel.

At their meeting on Nov. 1, Scaramella told Litvinenko that an e-mail he received from a source named the purported killers of Russian investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who was gunned down on Oct. 7 at her Moscow apartment building. The e-mail reportedly said that he and Litvinenko _ a friend of the reporter _ were also on the hit list.

In the interview with the AP, Shvets said he also knew Scaramella, having met him in the U.S. at Litvinenko's insistence.

Shvets, who has worked at the Center for Counterintelligence and Security Studies in Washington, said he was currently traveling in the U.S. on vacation, but would not confirm his precise location because of concern for his personal security.

"I want to survive until the time we have a criminal case in relation to Sasha's death brought before a court in London," Shvets told the AP.

In a separate statement issued through Tom Mangold, a former British Broadcasting Corp. reporter and his friend of 15 years, Shvets denied claims published Sunday in Britain's Observer newspaper that he had been involved in the drafting of a dossier on Russian oil company Yukos.

Former Yukos shareholder Leonid Nevzlin, a Russian exile living in Israel, told the AP last week that Litvinenko had given him a document related to Yukos and said he believed the agent's killing was tied to his investigations into the company.

Mangold said Shvets had denied the newspaper report, which said he had examined charges filed by Russian prosecutors against Yukos officials and shareholders and had given his findings to Litvinenko.

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© 2006 The Associated Press