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Hamburg police investigating the case of Dmitry Kovtun
Hamburg police investigating the case of Dmitry Kovtun, a Russian agent-turned-businessman linked to the radiation poisoning scandal in London, have requested Russia's help, a police spokesman said Tuesday. Ralf Meyer said on German television that the investigative team had already asked its Russian colleagues to answer some questions, but received no response. "Therefore, we have sent an official request to Russia through the German Federal Prosecutor's Office asking for help," Meyer said. In Russia, Kovtun is being treated as a witness in the case of Alexander Litvinenko, an FSB defector and outspoken Kremlin critic who died November 23 of a fatal dose of radioactive polonium-210. He has been questioned by Russian prosecutors and Scotland Yard detectives, currently in Moscow investigating the case. Russian prosecutors have said Kovtun, who met with Litvinenko in London at around the time he fell ill in early November, has been diagnosed with symptoms of radiation poisoning and is in a Moscow hospital. Prosecutors are conducting a separate investigation into a possible attempt on his life. But Meyer said German investigators suspect Kovtun, who has a residence permit in Germany, of having illegally transported nuclear materials. Traces of radiation have been detected in Hamburg at several sites visited by Kovtun between October 28 and November 1, including at his ex-wife's apartment. His ex-wife, two children and her boyfriend were hospitalized Monday with suspected radiation poisoning. But doctors diagnosed no serious poisoning, saying the patients were fine but "suffering from serious psychological stress." Speaking on Russian television Tuesday, Kovtun said he was feeling better, but would stay in the hospital for at least another week. "I am recovering and will stay in the hospital for a week or 10 days," he said on state-controlled Channel One.
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