Mar 30 2007

Why Question Berezovsky About Bank Accounts?

I am being facetious of course. Boris Berezovsky, employer of both Alexander Litvinenko (who died of Po-210 exposure last November) and Andre Lugovoi (who met with Litvinenko many times during last October and from which traces of Po-210 have been found) is surprised Russian investigators were interested in his bank accounts during his questioning in London today:

Tycoon Boris Berezovsky said a Metropolitan Police officer put questions to him on behalf of the Russian state prosecutor at a central London police station, with a Russian official present.

“It was ridiculous. I spent four hours at a police station and they asked me about my bank accounts,” Berezovsky told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

Is it any wonder given the immense value of Polonium 210 and the amount one would have to pay to get it smuggled through London (whether for assassination or other, larger reasons). The trail of Po-210 intersects with each and every meeting Litvinenko had with Lugovoi when he travelled to London on three occasions, and since the Po-210 was found in Boris Berezovsky’s London offices (which Lugovoi and Litvinenko visited in the two days prior to Litvinenko falling ill). And it seems evident Litvinenko was exposed at least twice, maybe more times – again coinciding with Lugpvoi’s meetings with him.

So of course people are interested if money went from Berezovsky to Litvinenko and Lugovoi and others. Smuggling expensive, rare and illegal material is expensive. And if only someone with deep pockets could divert Russian produced Po-210 from its destination so it could be funneled back into Russia to topple Putin’s overnment. So yes, money could be a key indication of who was at the center of the Po-210 smuggling, contamination and ultimately Litvinenko’s death.

And was Berezovsky a supportive witness trying to help the investigation? Of course not:

He accused the Russians of trying to hide “the real people who ordered and executed this murder.”

“I told the man who questioned me that he was a criminal and part of the plot to hide those who ordered my friend’s killing,” he added.

There is a tape of the interview – it would be fascinating TV. My guess is it will end up in court first. But Berezovsky clearly was not a helpful witness. Notice how he dodged whether he gave any large ‘hush’ money to Litvinenko’s family in trade for his deathbed claim – something Litvinenko would gladly do to keep his family funded for life:

“When I arrived at the Scotland Yard police station, officers confirmed that the investigator from the [Russian] Prosecutor General’s Office had been screened for poisonous substances and arms,” Berezovsky said.

When asked what kind of questions he had been asked, Berezovsky said: “I had the impression that he [the investigator] was a tax inspector or a major Russian bank representative, who wanted to learn where my and my family’s accounts were and what fortune Alexander Litvinenko had, how much he had in his account and who will inherit his fortune.”

The businessman said that the investigator switched to more topical questions after Berezovsky protested.

So Berezovsky protested details of money possible or actual money transfers. Here’s the deal. People had to be bribed and bought to get the Po-210 out of the monitoring and control process and into London. The amounts seen dispersed over three meetings between Litvinenko and Lugovoi imply three shipments of the Polonium-210, each of which could and should have dwarfed the microscopic amount that took Litvinenko’s life. What if Russians, working with Lugovoi and Kovtun – cooperating witnesses also poisoned by the Po-210 fallout – have traced money back towards Berezovsky from Lugovoi?

What if Lugovoi was the transporter, but had no idea what he was moving. What if Lugovoi, upon learning he was nearly killed by the Po-210 and angry the Berezovsky was pointing the finger his way for the death of Litvinenko, turned evidence on his former employer (Lugovoi once was Berezovsky’s bodyguard and that also for his daughter).

I think it is also interesting there was one more person being interviewed by the Russians who was not yet named or supposedly known to Berezovsky. I am eagerly awaiting any new leaks of details and news.

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