Dec 09 2006

Update On Radiation Finds In Germany

The activity around Dmitry Kovtun’s home in Hamburg, Germany is spreading. As readers noted in comments in the previous post the radiation has been found in apartments of Kovtun’s ex-wife and ex-mother-in-law (original story here, yahoo interpretation here):

Hamburg – when investigations in a house in Haselau in the circle Pinneberg was determined a contamination, communicated the police. It is to concern the house of the ex mother-in-law of Dimitrij Kowtun, a contact man of the murdered Kremlin critic Alexander Litwinenko.

Whether it concerns with the new find polonium-pure, is however still unclear. In the house at the bed and on a chair so-called alpha radiation was based. The building was sealed.

My german is so rusty I need some help, but the Yahoo translation is good enough to fill it all in. Clearly they have found radiation on a chair and at a bed (not “on’ it, strangely) which means the contamination could have been from someone pasing through the house. Authorities are not yet ready to say it is from Polonium 210. Readin further it seems after questioning the ex-wide and mother they have a lead onto a ‘third man’. Also radiation (not contamination) was also found at another location apparently linked to Kovtun. It is interesting that they note radiation, like a burn mark, and not contamination – which would be signs of radioactive material still present.

The places have been sealed and everyone moved out. And they are moving people out of all 3o apartments to conduct a comprehensive search. What needs to be resolved for this part of the trail to be aligned with the rest of the puzzle is to know if Kovtun ever came back from Moscow after he went to London, and of course who this new lead is.

18 responses so far

18 Responses to “Update On Radiation Finds In Germany”

  1. Lizarde1 says:

    AJ I think it means on a bed and on a chair: am Bett und an einem Stuhl

  2. Lizarde1 says:

    The Germans have named this operation Operation Third Man

  3. Lizarde1 says:

    yes AJ they use the word strahlung (radiation ) and spuren (traces) – it says more or less they were looking for spuren (traces) and found low (levels of ) strahlung (radiation) –

    However there is nothing in the der spiegel article about a third person – that is the name of the Operation.

  4. Lizarde1 says:

    Die Welt is claiming that “traces of alpha radiation”were found at the mother in laws and the ex wife’s. Since I don’t understnad the difference between traces of alpha particles and alpha radiation etc I’ll just tell you what it says without interpretation: spuren (traces) so genannter (so named) Alpha-Strahlung (alpha radiation) gefunden worden. (were found)

    as to location: in the Bathroom and in the living room of the exwife and in the house of the motherinlaw on a bed and a chair

  5. Lizarde1 says:

    and they are checking the plane that is now in the Cologne/Bonn airport that Kovtun used to fly to London for the Nov. 1 meeting – this will show if Kovtun was radioactive before the Millenium (we already know Luguvoi was leaving traces before this of course and so to was Kovtun probably as he was at the Oct 16 meeting)

  6. mrmeangenes says:

    Permit a hypothesis: What was being smuggled was cash:blackmail payments (perhaps) that had been dusted with Polonium to make them a “gift that would keep on giving”.

    Considering the amount of excellent counterfeit money floating around Eastern Europe,it would be almost a given that the recipients would examine it carefully,hold it up close to the eyes,and count and re-count it.

    Given the universal human tendency to touch our mouths, noses, eyes and ears,ingestion would be a near-certainty.

    The “cookie crumb trail” of radiation probably describes the interesting pit stops the money made on its way to Litvienko and friends.

  7. Rosenkreutz says:

    That’s an interesting hypothesis – but what about the heavily contaminated tea-cup at the Millennium Hotel?

  8. Lizarde1 says:

    even if the teacup is heavily contaminated there is no proof that the PO got there on purpose or by accident especially since the two people with him are also contaminated to a greater or lesser extent. The PO could have fallen in the teacup just as easily as it could have been put there – probably more easily.

  9. AJStrata says:

    As to the Tea Cup mystery it is key (as Jerry points out). The question is where the tea cup came from. It could have been in the room which had the large contamination on the fourth floor. We would need to know if the Millinium had a single kitchen which dealt with restaurant, bar and room dishes, etc. It is interesting that the room is consider the source for the ‘mixing’ of the poison. Was a cup used to mix it?

    For what it is worth, I do not expect the revelation of a smuggling angle to come out of the authorities – it would not help their efforts to tip off their suspects. But this idea the Millenium hotel bar (as opposed to the Millenium Hotel in general) was the location of the poisoning seems to be more associated with the media mob mentality than anything concrete. The entire story line has been about the media spinning the assasination theory around the shifting facts. The only theory that has not had to have any changes to it is the smuggling ring theory. So everytime the media jumps on something conclusive from inconclusive information I am about 100% sure they are wrong – again.

  10. Lizarde1 says:

    I’m guessing we are going to find out that Kovtun was leaving a trail in Germany before Nov. 1 and that further research into Litvinenko’s movements from Oct 16 might turn up PO in places where neither Lugovoi and Kovtun were. It doesn’t seem like the police are very interested in this angle however.

  11. mrmeangenes says:

    Contamination in the teacup (sounds like a good name for a Liverpool Grunge band) could have come from Litvinenko himself-in the form of salivary traces-especially if he was one of those who unconciously licks at fingers while counting cash – ( a very “old country” habit.)

  12. Lizarde1 says:

    Is anybody surprised by the slowness of the investigation? That it took this long to look into Kovtov’s German residence? I wonder if the Russians are allowing contamination hunting in Lugovoi’s dasha and in his offices?

  13. Rosenkreutz says:

    Is it possible that some government authority got wind of a terrorist smuggling plot and decided to terminate it by using the smuggled goods?

  14. AJStrata says:


    Possible? Yes. Likely? Nope. A nuclear materia like this is the same thing as being found with a howitzer pointed at the city ready to fire. Deadly force is authorized and would be used. This is an act of war.

  15. Rosenkreutz says:

    And if London were only a transit point rather than the target – perhaps the Russian secret service had infiltrated the group and an undercover agent acted to stop the polonium getting into (for example) Chechen hands?

  16. clarice says:

    Well, that explains why they looked in the other apartment(s). There was a connection to Kovtun. But why did they suspect these apartments? Do you really think they named this Operation “Third Man” for no reason? I don’t. I suppose there is another person, known to Kovtun, his wife and mother-in-law.

  17. mariposa says:

    Clarice, unless they are counting Kovtun himself as the “third man,” meaning: 1) Litvinenko, 2) Lugovoi, and 3) Kovtun.

  18. clarice says:

    Yes. There is that possibility, but remember there was no radiation found on the plane Kovtun took to London and no evidence to date that he returned to Hamburg from London. That suggests to me this stuff has been there for a while. I can see the possibility of Kovtun visiting his ex-wife’s apt, but his mother-in-law’s bedroom seems a stretch–especially lying or sitting on her bed.