Russia Links Israeli Businessman to Murder of Ex-spy Litvinenko

Leonid Nevzlin, Russian businessman living in Israel, denies allegations; ex-KGB agent Litvinenko was poisoned in November.

Reuters
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Russia's prosecutor-general said Wednesday that Leonid Nevzlin, Russian-born businessman currently living in Israel, could have ordered the poisoning of former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko.

Nevzlin is the former CEO of the bankrupt Yukos Oil Company and current chairman of the Diaspora Museum in Tel Aviv.

Nevzlin's spokesman dismissed the suggestion as "ridiculous".

"A version is being looked at that those who ordered these crimes could be the same people who are on an international wanted list for serious and very serious crimes, one of whom is ... Leonid Nevzlin," the prosecutor-general's office said in a statement.

Nevzlin, one of the most senior men in the business empire of jailed Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, saysRussian authorities' charges against him are fabricated.

"Everyone knows the KGB's methods. These statements are ridiculous and do not warrant a response," Nevzlin's spokesman Amir Dan said in Israel of the latest allegations.

Dan said in late November that Litvinenko had been investigating alleged wrongdoing by the Russian authorities in connection with YUKOS before his death.

Before his eventual death from poisoning by radioactive polonium in London on Nov. 23, Litvinenko made a statement accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin of his murder. The Kremlin has dismissed Litvinenko's allegations as "nonsense".

A spokeswoman for London police, who are investigating Litvinenko's murder, declined to comment on the Russian prosecutor-general's statement.

Nevzlin gained a controlling stake in YUKOS when Khodorkovsky handed him a 60 percent share in the holding company that controlled the firm.

YUKOS has been driven into bankruptcy by massive back tax claims.

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