Russia rejects British bid to extradite poisoned spy case suspect
MOSCOW (AP) -- Russian prosecutors have officially refused Britain's request to extradite a businessman accused in last year's fatal poisoning of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko, a Russian news agency reported Thursday.
Interfax cited what it said was an informed source as saying the Prosecutor General's refusal to turn over Andrei Lugovoi was based on a constitutional prohibition against turning over Russian citizens to foreign nations.
Officials in the Prosecutor General's office could not immediately be reached to comment on the report, and the Russian Embassy in London said it had not yet received any information regarding the case.
"At this stage the embassy has not received any relevant documents to pass on to the Foreign and Commonwealth and Office," Deputy Press Secretary Konstantin Shlykov said.
In London, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Foreign Office both said they were looking into the report.
In May, Britain accused Lugovoi, a former KGB agent-turned-businessman, of involvement in the killing of Litvinenko, who died in a London hospital in November from a fatal dose of the radioactive substance, polonium 210.
President Vladimir Putin has said publicly that extraditing Russian citizens would be a violation of the Constitution.
Russian authorities, meanwhile, have tried to turn the tables on Britain by opening their own investigation into allegations of British espionage made by Lugovoi, who also said British secret services and a self-exiled billionaire tycoon could have had a hand in Litvinenko's death.
The case has roiled relations between London and Moscow.
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