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Italian in poison case arrested

December 25, 2006|From the Associated Press

ROME — An Italian who met with an ex-KGB agent around the time that radiation made the Russian fatally ill was arrested Sunday on charges of international arms trafficking and slander, the Italian man's father said.

The accusations against Mario Scaramella were not believed to be directly related to the investigation into the poisoning death of Alexander Litvinenko.

Scaramella, the first person connected to the poisoning case to be arrested, met Litvinenko at a London sushi bar Nov. 1, the apparent day that the former agent was poisoned. Litvinenko died of exposure to polonium-210 on Nov. 23.

Amedeo Scaramella said his son was arrested in Naples after returning from London, where he had been hospitalized for radiation exposure.

Ten people in Britain have tested positive for exposure since Litvinenko died.

Scaramella said he showed Litvinenko e-mails at the Nov. 1 meeting from a confidential source identifying the possible killers of Russian investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya and listing other potential targets for assassination -- including himself and Litvinenko.

On his deathbed, Litvinenko blamed Russian President Vladimir V. Putin for his poisoning -- an allegation that the Kremlin denied.

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