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Russian businessman Lugovoi claims British special services were involved in Alexander Litvinenko's poisoning

Andrei Lugovoi, a Russian businessman, whom Britain suspects of killing ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko, said Thursday that British special services were involved in the death.

"Even if British special services hadn't done it, it was done under their control or connivance," Andrei Lugovoi told a news conference. Later, asked if he had evidence for the allegation, he said "I have evidence," but did not elaborate.

Andrei Lugovoi, named as a suspect in the killing of ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko in London, said Thursday that Britain tried to recruit him to provide intelligence.

British special services "asked me to collect compromising information on President Putin," Lugovoi said at a news conference, according to a translation by the Russia Today television channel.

Britain last week said it had enough evidence to charge Lugovoi, who also worked for the KGB and its main successor agency the FSB, in the November killing of Litvinenko, who died of poisoning by the rare radioactive isotope polonium-210.

Litvinenko had fled to Britain several years earlier after becoming a strong critic of the Kremlin and received British citizenship. He co-wrote a book claiming that the FSB was behind the 1999 fatal apartment bombings that Russian officials blamed on Chechen terrorists.

Lugovoi and another Russian had met in London with Litvinenko on Nov. 1, the day Litvinenko said he became ill.

Britain has requested Lugovoi's extradition, but Russia has refused, saying the constitution does not permit such extraditions.

Lugovoi has repeatedly asserted he is innocent in the matter.

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