Radiation tests conducted following Russian's death

Police investigating the death of former KGB colonel Alexander Litvinenko are searching for various locations for radioactive material, after a large dose of radiation was found in his body.

Following his death, a "major dose" of polonium-210 was discovered in his body, the Health Protection Agency revealed.

On Friday, it was revealed that police found levels of radiation in the sushi bar where Mr Litvinenko ate before he fell ill, as well as a hotel where he had a meeting on the same day.

The 43-year-old Russian fell ill on November 1. He met with two Russian men at a London hotel, before meeting Italian Mario Scaramella, at a Piccadilly sushi bar. Later that day, he fell ill and was admitted to University College Hospital in London two weeks later.

At first, it was believed that Mr Litvinenko had been poisoned with toxic chemical thallium or radioactive thallium. However, on Thursday it was reported that his condition had deteriorated overnight and one of his doctors Dr Geoff Bellingnan ruled out both of the substances as having caused Mr Litvinenko's illness. It is still not clear what caused his illness and counter-terrorism officers from Scotland Yard are investigating the case.

Mr Litvinenko, who came to Britain six years ago, was an outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin's regime and, at the time he fell ill, was investigating the recent murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya. Ms Politkovskaya, who was another critic of Putin's government and opposed to the conflict in Chechnya, was shot dead near her apartment in Moscow last month.

Mr Scaramella, who was working for an inquiry into KGB activity in Italy for the Italian government, claimed that both he and Mr Litvinenko had received email death threats and had discussed them on the day he fell ill.

A friend of Mr Litvinenko's, film-maker Andrei Nekrasov, told 'The Times' that before the Russian died he told him: "The bastards got me, but they won't get everybody."

Before he died, Mr Litvinenko dictated a statement in which he accused Vladimir Putin of being involved in his death.

The Kremlin has dismissed claims that that it was involved in the alleged poisoning, saying that the claims were "sheer nonsense", while Russia's foreign intelligence service, the SVR, have also denied any involvement.


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