The murder of former-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko was ‘probably’ approved by Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a new report as part of a public inquiry.
The inquiry found that Mr Litvineko wrote an article in which he questioned why Mr Putin kissed a young boy’s stomach under his t-shirt during a tour of the Kremlin, claims Marina Litvinenko, 52, the spy’s widowed wife. The arcticle was printed alongside a photograph of Mr Putin and the child with the headline: “Kremlin Paedophile.”
Mr Litvinenko was 43 when he died at a London hospital after drinking tea laced with a radioactive substance, following a meeting with KGB agents Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitri Kovtun at a hotel in the capital. Both deny any involvement and remain in Russia.
The inquiry was led at the Royal Court of Justice by Sir Robert Owen, a retired High Court judge, who yesterday released his findings on the death of Litvinenko, who was poisoned with radiation in the Pine Bar of London’s Millennium Hotel.
In his report, he wrote: “There was undoubtedly a personal dimension to the antagonism between Mr Litvinenko on the one hand and President Putin on the other.
“Mr. Litvinenko made repeated highly personal attacks on President Putin culminating in the allegation of paedophillia in July 2006.”
In the articles, Litvinenko claimed that “before his graduation, his bosses learned that Putin was a pedophile [sic]” and that after becoming director, he used the Russian security service’s Internal Security directorate to upload videos “which showed him making sex with some underage boys.”
Sir Robert concluded that “members of the Putin administration, including the president himself and the FSB, had motives for taking action against Litvinenko, including killing him, in late 2006.”
Putin, who has been president for 16 years, has an ongoing campaign against the LGBT community and is considering banning public displays of affection between gay people, having already banned “gay propaganda” in 2013.