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Guardian: Revealed: Litvinenko's Russian 'blackmail plot'

The FBI has been dragged into the investigation of Alexander Litvinenko's death after details emerged that he had planned to make tens of thousands of pounds blackmailing senior Russian spies and business figures.

The Observer has obtained remarkable testimony from a Russian academic, Julia Svetlichnaja, who met Litvinenko earlier this year and received more than 100 emails from him. In a series of interviews, she reveals that the former Russian secret agent had documents from the FSB, the Russian agency formerly known as the KGB. He had asked Svetlichnaja, who is based in London, to enter into a business deal with him and 'make money'.

Litvinenko also handed a series of pictures of himself to Svetlichnaja that are published by The Observer today. One shows him with murdered Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, another serving as an army officer in an elite Russian army unit two decades ago and the third draped in the Union flag celebrating getting his British passport just before he was poisoned.

[...]

'I believe I have a lead that can explain what happened,' Shvets confirmed last week before he was interviewed as a witness in the presence of FBI agents. Shvets, who lives in Virginia and is now apparently in hiding, declined to elaborate. However, a business associate of Shvets, who asked to remain anonymous, told The Observer that Litvinenko had claimed in the weeks before his death that he possessed a dossier containing damaging revelations about the Kremlin and its relationship with the Yukos oil company. The associate claimed that Shvets compiled the dossier

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The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Dec 3rd, 2006 at 05:17:37 AM EST
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