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Russia Says it Could Try Suspect in London Poisoning Death


Russia said on Friday that it would consider prosecuting the chief suspect in the radiation poisoning of a former Moscow intelligence agent in London, but Britain rejected the offer.

Russian Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika told reporters that he will launch proceedings against Andrei Lugovoi if Russian investigators determine there is sufficient evidence he was involved in the death of Alexander Litvinenko.

But British Attorney General Peter Goldsmith dismissed the offer, saying he has told Chaika that London expects Moscow to extradite the suspect.

The two officials met in Munich during a meeting of justice ministers of the Group of Eight industrialized nations.

On Tuesday, British prosecutors announced they have enough evidence to charge Lugovoi with murder and moved to extradite him.

Russia says its constitution prohibits extraditing citizens.

Litvinenko died in November from a fatal dose of polonium 210. British police determined that Litvinenko met the suspect at a London hotel shortly before falling ill.

In a letter on his deathbed, Litvinenko accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of having ordered his poisoning. The Kremlin denies any involvement.

Lugovoi Wednesday proclaimed his innocence and called the British charges politically motivated.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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