Statement of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation
The anti-Russia campaign launched by the British authorities over the alleged poisoning of former officer of the Main Intelligence Directorate Sergey Skripal and his daughter has been following the pattern that was already used to groundlessly accuse the Russian Federation in connection with the alleged attempted murder of Boris Berezovsky in London in summer 2003 and the death of Alexander Litvinenko in the UK in November 2006.
As the subjects of those provocations, all three cases featured persons who had been prosecuted for serious crimes in Russia and who had repeatedly criticised Russian authorities, which made it appear as if Russian authorities had a motive for their elimination.
All three cases involved mass disinformation and unfounded accusations that Russian special services used poisonous substances in the British soil, which was used as grounds to demand sanctions against Russia.
In all three cases, counter to the 1959 European Convention of Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, the British authorities refused to cooperate with Russian law enforcement agencies, classified information on the progress and findings of investigations into the mentioned events in the UK and thus excluded the possibility to assess their objectiveness.
In these circumstances, the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation intends to disclose the facts established in the course of two criminal investigations: an investigation into accused Boris Berezovsky’s illicitly obtaining asylum in the UK in September 2003 having falsely stated that Russian special services had been preparing his assassination in London in summer 2003, and the investigation into the death of Alexander Litvinenko.
These facts were objectively proved in the course of investigations conducted in Russia and confirmed by the conclusions of foreign, including British, law enforcement agencies, which British political authorities have been deliberately concealing and distorting.
The Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation is also prepared to make an unprecedented step and publish in the mass media copies of certain documents from relevant criminal cases, including its correspondence with the British Home Office, including directly with Theresa May when Home Secretary.
These materials clearly demonstrate that as British authorities were granting refugee status to Boris Berezovsky, they were aware that his asylum application was based on false allegations that an attempt on his life had been prepared in summer 2003.
These materials also show that some months before Alexander Litvinenko’s death, the British Home Office had been informed that he and a number of other persons involved in Berezovsky’s obtaining asylum through a staged attempt at his life were at a real risk; however, it made no timely steps to protect these persons.
Statement of facts
In July 2006, the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation received a written application from Vladimir Terluk, a stateless person originating from Kazakhstan who had resided with his family in the UK since 1999.
He stated that between May and September 2003, Boris Berezovsky, Alexander Litvinenko, Alexander Goldfarb (vice-president of the US-based International Foundation for Civil Liberties financed by Boris Berezovsky) and their British lawyers (whose identities are known), in order to create fictitious grounds for Boris Berezovsky’s asylum application, tried to threaten and bribe him to make a false statement to British law enforcement agencies confessing that he was a member of Russian special services and was involved in preparing an assassination of Boris Berezovsky.
As Terluk refused to bear this false witness, Litvinenko and Goldfarb, acting under instructions of Berezovsky, submitted on July 31, 2003 and August 4, 2003 respectively to the competent British authorities knowingly false information alleging that Terluk was a Russian special services agent tasked to kill Berezovsky using a poisonous substance (copies of the statements are available).
A similar statement was made by lawyer Clare Montgomery during the hearings at Bow Street Magistrates’ Court in London on granting asylum to Yuly Dubov, Berezovsky’s associate who also fled to the UK to avoid prosecution in Russia. James Lewis of the Crown Prosecution Service, who participated in the hearings, demanded that Mrs Montgomery’s statement be officially investigated.
As part of this investigation, in September 2003 Scotland Yard officers Simon Rose (service badge No. 192637, telephone number 02072302991) and David Cadman (service badge No. 170715, telephone 02072302175) questioned Terluk if he belonged to the Russian special services and had the task to kill Berezovsky with a poisonous substance. Terluk categorically rejected these groundless statements and described in detail the whole scenario of Berezovsky’s staging of the attempt on his life in order to obtain asylum in the UK as well as the actions of Litvinenko, Goldfarb and other persons involved in staging this provocation. Later on, Terluk confirmed his evidence under oath in High Court of Justice of England and Wales during the trial against Berezovsky in 2010.
As a result of the investigation, on January 13, 2004 Home Office representative Hazel Blears made an official announcement about its completion due to the lack of objective evidence of an attempt on Berezovsky’s life in summer 2003 in London. This notwithstanding, the British Home Secretary decided to grant Berezovsky a refugee status and refused on these grounds to extradite him to Russia at the request of the Prosecutor General’s Office. At the same time, various mass media published Berezovsky’s statement claiming that the reason for granting him asylum was the fact of preparation of an attempt on his life in London of which Berezovsky and his lawyers notified the British Home Office.
Since Terluk testified against Berezovsky and his associates, he repeatedly received threats from them and, because of the inaction of the competent British authorities, had to appeal to the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office requesting state protection.
On August 7, 2006, the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation transferred to the UK Home Office the said Terluk’s statement so that necessary measures aimed at ensuring his safety could be taken.
This letter also indicated that during the period from spring to autumn 2003 Berezovsky, Litvinenko, Goldfarb and other persons attempted, using various means, to persuade Terluk into providing knowingly false information about the preparation of an attempt on Berezovsky by the Russian special services.
(Copies of the letter of the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office and the investigator’s request of August 7, 2006 with translation into English were provided.)
On October 12, 2006, the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation sent another letter to the British Home Office supplemented with an investigative request of October 4, 2006 to provide copies of materials that had served as a basis for granting asylum to Boris Berezovsky, ie copies of knowingly false statements of Alexander Litvinenko and Alexander Goldfarb.
(Copies of the letter of the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office of October 12, 2006 and the investigative request of October 4, 2006 with translation into English were provided.)
Thus, the British Home Office received the said requests of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation when Alexander Litvinenko was still alive — before November 1, 2006, the formally announced date of his poisoning. That means the British authorities had an opportunity to conduct a timely interrogation of Litvinenko in connection with the circumstances specified in the requests of the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office and to protect that key participant in the events under investigation but did not do it.
Moreover, on October 23, 2006, the British Home Office sent a letter to the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office, in which it refused to provide state protection of witnesses in the Boris Berezovsky case, explaining that witness protection was allegedly beyond the framework of mutual legal assistance, as stipulated in the provisions of the 1959 European Convention, and recommended that the issue be dealt with through Interpol.
(A copy of the letter from the British Home Office of October 23, 2006 in English and Russian was provided.)
In the period from August 2006 to December 2011, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office sent to the British Home Office a total of 39 requests demanding protection of Vladimir Terluk, which were supplemented with requests to carry out an interrogation of accused Boris Berezovsky and his accomplices who were engaged in provocation that led to his obtaining refugee status, as well as to conduct a face-to-face confrontation between those persons and Mr Terluk.
The British Home Office ignored the requests for the said investigative actions; consequently, the interrogation of Litvinenko became impossible due to his death on November 23, 2006. It is quite obvious that Litvinenko’s death was very convenient both as a way to get rid of one of the main witnesses who could testify against Boris Berezovsky and as yet another reason to launch a new anti-Russia campaign.
It was only after the death of Alexander Litvinenko, on December 14, 2006, that the City of London Police started taking measures to provide state protection to Vladimir Terluk and his relatives, of which the British Home Office reported in its official letter of March 13, 2007.
(Copies of the letter from the British Home Office of March 13, 2007 and the report by the London police of January 11, 2007 in English and Russian were provided.)
However, the measures to protect Vladimir Terluk and his family turned out to be ineffective. Thus, on July 31, 2010, after Vladimir Terluk gave his testimony against Boris Berezovsky in the High Court of Justice of England and Wales, unknown persons attacked and brutally beat him and his wife with a metal bar near the Stevenage and Graveley localities, inflicting severe injuries on both.
(Photographs of Vladimir Terluk and his wife showing marks of beating were provided)
On August 4, 2010, the Deputy Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation sent a personal letter concerning the investigation of this crime to Home Secretary Theresa May, raising once again the issue of the inadequate protection offered by the British authorities to Vladimir Terluk and other parties to criminal proceedings in the case of Boris Berezovsky, including Alexander Litvinenko.
(A copy of the letter of the Prosecutor General’s Office of August 4, 2010 with translation into English was provided)
Neither this letter nor subsequent messages from the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office addressed to Theresa May were ever answered. Until now, those responsible for the attack against Terluk and his wife have not been identified; no additional state protection has been offered to Terluk and his property, either. Due to the inaction of the British competent authorities, on October 14, 2011, the Terluk family’s car was stolen by unknown individuals. This crime has also remained unsolved.
The Home Office withdrew in a similar way from performing its obligations arising from the 1959 European Convention while investigating the circumstances of Alexander Litvinenko’s death.
For instance, since December 16, 2006, when the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation initiated a criminal investigation into Alexander Litvinenko’s death, the UK Home Office has failed to satisfy in full any Russian requests for investigative measures in the territory of the UK and refused to provide the results of expert studies aimed at establishing the cause of Litvinenko’s death.
The Russian side was also denied any evidence obtained in the course of the investigation conducted by the British police. Those materials were classified.
In the meantime, in accordance with the official stance repeatedly articulated by British senior officials and circulated by the engaged mass media, it was maintained that Alexander Litvinenko had been poisoned in London on November 1, 2006 by Russian nationals Andrey Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun using Russia-produced radioactive polonium-210.
These allegations have been refuted based both on the evidence obtained by the Russian Investigative Committee and on the results of the investigation conducted by the Hamburg Prosecutor’s Office.
Thus, the German Prosecutor’s Office, similarly to Russian investigative authorities, confirmed the fact that on November 1, 2006 Andrey Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun met Litvinenko in London, where they had arrived by plane the same day from Moscow and Hamburg, respectively.
However, Senior Prosecutor Redder’s decision of November 6, 2009 states that the analysis of all the evidence obtained by the Hamburg Prosecutor’s Office, including the data provided by the UK on the sites that had been identified by the British investigative authorities as contaminated with polonium-210, revealed that polonium had been present in London before the arrival of Lugovoi and Kovtun on November 1, 2006.
Traces of the radionuclide were found in Berezovsky’s London office and in the organism of Italian national Mario Scramella, whom Litvinenko had met in London on November 1, 2006 prior to his meeting with Lugovoi and Kovtun.
In view of the above, the Hamburg Prosecutor’s Office by its decision of November 6, 2009 discontinued the proceedings in this matter pursuant to p. 2 para. 170 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Federal Republic of Germany for lack of grounds for the accusation.
(Extracts from the decision of the Hamburg Prosecutor’s Office of November 6, 2009 in the Russian and German languages bearing Prosecutor Redder’s signature were provided.)
And yet, the UK authorities still continue with their unfounded accusations against Russia and Russian nationals in relation to Litvinenko’s death as well as attempts to draw unsubstantiated analogies between this event and the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter in March 2018 in the UK. — Russian Embassy.