A year after his death, a Daily Mail article last weekend said that the murdered ex-spy worked for Britain's MI6.
The case of Alexander Litvinenko, who was poisoned with a lethal dose of radioactive polonium-210 in a London bar a year ago, just keeps getting murkier.
Last weekend, the London-based Daily Mail, citing anonymous intelligence and diplomatic sources, reported that the former KGB agent was also an agent of Britain's MI6 spy agency who received a monthly retainer of $4,000.
"It is understood that Sir John Scarlett, now the head of MI6 and once based in Moscow, was involved in recruiting him to the Secret Intelligence Service," the paper said. "The fact that the 43-year-old ex-Russian spy was actually working for Britain when he died could provide the key to his extraordinary killing."
His widow, Marina Litvinenko, has denied the allegation, insisting that her husband "was not the kind of person who would be useful to the British security services."
But in Russia, Andrei Lugovoi, the ex-KGB agent accused by the British government of murdering Mr. Litvinenko, declared that he has been vindicated.
"I hope the British public will demand after this publication in the newspaper that their secret services shed light on the situation surrounding Litvinenko's death," a jubilant Mr. Lugovoi, who is currently running for parliament on the ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party ticket, told the official ITAR-Tass agency.
Lugovoi has claimed in the past that Litvinenko and his sponsor, exiled anti-Kremlin tycoon Boris Berezovsky, were both agents of MI6. He has hinted that Litvinenko was actually killed by British intelligence as part of a dark plot to slander Putin and wreck Russia's relations with the West. Lugovoi further claimed that Mr. Berezovsky and Litvinenko had tried to recruit him for anti-Kremlin activities.
"This new information [from the Daily Mail] confirms what Lugovoi has been saying," says Lugovoi's lawyer, Andrei Romashov. "People [in the West] have refused to believe him just because he's a Russian."