Former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko has died in London, three weeks after apparently being poisoned. He was in intensive care at University College Hospital, when his condition deteriorated rapidly. Scotland Yard is investigating the circumstances surrounding his death. A hospital spokesman confirmed the news without giving any information as to what may have caused the mysterious malady that afflicted the former KGB agent. Initially it was reported Litvinenko had been poisoned with the toxic metal thallium.
Investigations are focussing on the last weeks of his life. Litvinenko said he took tea with two Russians at a London hotel before meeting a contact at a sushi restaurant.
Toxicologist Tony Dayan said:“If something happens very quickly, then it may be easier to detect the poison by appropriate chemical analysis but if it is a “hit and run” substance that may have been given several weeks before but hasn’t stayed in the body, you are left only with the damage it has done and nothing specific to analyse.”
Litvinenko had been investigating the murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya. He publicly blamed her death on Russian President Vladimir Putin. Litvinenko himself had written a book, alleging Russia’s secret service staged apartment bombings in 1999, that helped get Putin elected.