Witness in Litvinenko murder leaves hospital: agency

Tuesday, January 9, 2007; 10:42 AM

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Russian former KGB bodyguard at the center of a probe into the murder of ex-agent Alexander Litvinenko has left hospital where he was treated for suspected radiation poisoning, Interfax news agency said on Tuesday.

It cited unidentified medical sources as saying Andrei Lugovoy, a former KGB bodyguard for the Kremlin elite, was discharged at the end of December from a Moscow hospital.

Lugovoy has declined to say whether he had been contaminated with polonium 210, the substance that led to Litvinenko's death on November 23.

"I am relaxing: call back in a couple of weeks," he told Reuters by telephone when asked whether he had left hospital. He then cut the call short and did not take further calls.

Lugovoy, who told Reuters last month he had nothing to do with Litvinenko's murder, has attracted attention because he was one of two men who met Litvinenko in London on the day Litvinenko fell ill with radiation poisoning.

A second Russian witness who met Litvinenko in London, Dmitry Kovtun, was treated at the same Moscow hospital. British detectives on a visit to Moscow have questioned both men in the presence of Russian investigators.

A source close to the murder investigation told RIA news agency that medical tests on Lugovoy had still not been concluded.

Full Legal Notice
© 2007 Reuters