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No access for UK police to jailed agent-Ifax

Written by: Staff
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MOSCOW, Dec 5 (Reuters) Russia's prison service today ruled out any prospects of a meeting between a jailed ex-agent and British detectives probing the poisoning of former spy Alexander Litvinenko, Interfax news agency said.

Lawyers for Mikhail Trepashkin, a former KGB agent serving four years in jail for divulging state secrets, have said he has information relevant to the Litvinenko investigation that he wants to pass on to the detectives.

''Russia's prison service will not allow somebody sentenced for disclosing state secrets to continue to be a source of information for representatives of the special services of foreign states,'' Alexander Sidorov, a spokesman for the service, was quoted as saying.

A group of British detectives arrived in Moscow yesterday as part of their investigation into the death of Litvinenko on November 23 from a lethal dose of radioactive polonium 210.

Russia's prosecutor-general's office yesterday said it would provide them with all necessary support to carry out their inquiries.

Trepashkin, held in a Urals prison, said in a letter last Friday that the FSB, the Russian state security service, had created a hit squad to kill Litvinenko and other enemies of the Kremlin.

Litvinenko, also a former KGB agent, was one of President Vladimir Putin's sharpest critics among London's Russian emigre community. Before he died he accused Putin of having ordered his death.

REUTERS SHB BD1355

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