Pal Yuri Felshtinsky, who wrote a book with Litvinenko, 43, says the stricken ex-KGB man named the Italian in a deathbed phone call.
He told Felshtinsky, 50, that Scaramella seemed nervous and ate nothing when they met in a London sushi restaurant on November 1, after which the Russian fell ill…
Felshtinsky said: “When I talked to Alexander around 12 November about who poisoned him, we were talking only about the Italian guy Mario. He was sure at this time that it was Mario. He was telling me that he was in a scheme.”
Litvinenko apparently didn’t mention Scaramella three days later, though, when he blamed someone else:
Speaking from his hospital bed eight days before he died, Litvinenko said: “I know that Russian intelligence are monitoring me. I know I am an active case. I know that the officer in the Russian station here who is in charge of monitoring me is Mr Viktor Kirov. Until he left, [he] was consul in the Russian embassy . . . I know that he is part of the spy trade and among other things, was monitoring my movements.”
Maybe he mentioned Scaramella too in that second interview and the papers kept that fact quiet so as not to tip off any unknown co-conspirators about whom the investigation was focused on? Or maybe Litvinenko was talking out of his ass.
Just keeping you posted. Britain’s home secretary says radiation’s been found at 12 locations now, which is double what the number was at last check. Two of those 12 are the British Airways planes (three other planes are being tested) and six more are locations named a few days ago by British cops. Can’t wait to see where the four new ones point. Scaramella’s house, maybe? Or Berezovsky’s?
Update: It ain’t me, says Scaramella:
“This is all completely absurd,” Scaramella said, adding “I am not being investigated or a suspect.
I am collaborating with the investigations, which are headed in every other direction.”
Scaramella, who has advised Italy’s parliament on Soviet-era espionage and describes himself as a security consultant, said he would be able to fully explain himself and speak more freely this weekend.
“But I can’t make any statements. Be patient,” he said.
Update: Just across on Fox — former Russian PM Yegor Gaidar, who fell ill a few days after Litvinenko’s death, is now also believed to have been poisoned. Substance unknown.
Update: A former Russian nuclear minister has issued a pro forma denial that the polonium could have come from his country, since the control standards are so famously strict, etc etc.
Update: The plot can, apparently, get thicker:
The only reported link between Mr Gaidar and Mr Litvinenko is another ex-KGB spy, Andrei Lugovoy, who once served as Mr Gaidar’s bodyguard and met Mr Litvinenko on the day he was allegedly poisoned.
Lugovoy is one of the two Russian businessmen Litvinenko had tea with at the hotel bar.
Thanks to Greg Tinti for that tip. As for why Gaidar might be on Putin’s hit list, his daughter’s a bit of a livewire.