LONDON — Murdered Russian former agent Alexander Litvinenko had been working for British secret intelligence service MI6, the Daily Mail newspaper reported Saturday. Citing unnamed diplomatic and intelligence sources, it said that Litvinenko, who died last November in London of radiation poisoning, was receiving a monthly retainer of about 2,000 pounds (2,850 euros, US$4,100) from MI6 when he was murdered.
Sir John Scarlett, who is now the head of MI6 and was once based in Moscow, was involved in recruiting Litvinenko, the paper added. In May Andrei Lugovoi, a former KGB agent who Britain wants extradited from Russia to be charged with Litvinenko’s murder, accused Litvinenko of spying for MI6 and said the agency was behind the killing.
Litvinenko’s widow Marina described that allegation as “nonsense”.
Litvinenko, an outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, apparently accused the Kremlin of involvement in his poisoning before he died, a charge Moscow denies.
Moscow’s refusal to extradite Lugovoi has caused serious friction with London and led to a series of tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions. In June, another former Russian secret service agent, Vyacheslav Zarko, said that he was recruited by British intelligence through Litvinenko.