Even though President Putin is blamed for the murder of a Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, the brother of the deceased does not believe that is the case.
Litvinenko’syounger brother, Maxim, revealed in an interview that British agents were responsible.
Last night, Litvinenko’s widow Marina rejected them out of hand, accusing her brother-in-law of spreading lies that she said echoed the views of the Russian state.
In the days after his brother’s death Maxim told the world he believed he had died by the orders of the Russian state, saying: ‘My brother was one of Putin’s most dangerous enemies.’
However, two years ago he was approached by the Russian general prosecutor’s office who convinced him that Russia was not to blame.
Today Maxim, 32, the half-brother of Alexander and a chef by trade who was left almost penniless when his restaurant business collapsed, is now working for a company which helps wealthy Russians invest in the tax haven of San Marino.
And as his business fortunes have changed so has his story.
He denies receiving any financial support or favours from the Russian state, adding: ‘In 2012 I was called by the Russian prosecutor. They suggested the polonium could have been left by anyone, it could have been planted in the urine, the real poison could be thallium and the letter [written by Litvinenko before he died accusing Putin of his murder] could be fake.’
He added Russia had no reason to want his brother dead: ‘He didn’t do spying. He did not know any state secrets. He had a simple job. The state were not interested in him.’