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Italian Police Arrest Key Figure in British-Russian Spy Probe


Police in southern Italy have arrested a contact of the dead former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko.

Authorities say Mario Scaramella was arrested in the city of Naples Sunday after arriving on a flight from London. He was later taken to Rome, where prosecutors are investigating him for alleged arms trafficking.

Scaramella was one of several people to have met with Litvinenko on November 1 - the day the Russian fell ill from radiation poisoning. Litvinenko died three weeks later.

Scaramella himself underwent tests for polonium 210, the radioactive element found in Litvinenko's body.

On his deathbed, Litvinenko claimed he was poisoned for his opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin has denied any link to the case.

Scaramella said he met with Litvinenko to confer about a hit list received from an unidentified source. He said that both his name and Litvinenko's were on the list.

He further alleged that those who drew up the list were also responsible for the unsolved October murder of noted Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya in Moscow.

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