Suspect 'willing to co-operate'
One of the suspected killers of the spy Alexander Litvinenko is willing to co-operate with the inquiry in to his death, it heard today.
A man giving the name Dmitri Kovtun has been contacting the inquiry, causing lawyers to ponder whether he may give evidence by video link or face questioning by police.
Kovtun and Andrei Lugovoi are the suspects in the radioactive poisoning in London of the former KGB agent.
Counsel to the inquiry Robin Tam QC told chairman Sir Robert Owen: "During the course of the last fortnight, the solicitor to the inquiry has received communications from a man who has given his name as Dmitri Kovtun. He has said he is willing to take part in the inquiry."
He said it was not known if he intended to instruct legal representatives.
There was no prospect of hearing any evidence from him before Easter.
Sir Robert said: "It is highly regrettable that it is so late in the day that this approach and application from Dmitri Kovtun has been made."
Ben Emmerson QC for Mr Litvinenko's widow Marina said: "It is an unexpected development that Mr Kovtun should now seek to show his face, but if that's what he wants to do, then we would be more than happy to facilitate the opportunity to have a proper chance to question this man about his conduct and his role in the murder of Mr Litvinenko."
He added: "Should he be questioned by the police? There's an ongoing investigation in to his responsibility for the murder."
Richard Horwell QC for the Metropolitan Police Commissioner said: "We have grave concerns about what may be behind this development."
Sir Robert added: "Concerns that are shared by me." He said however the inquiry decided to proceed, he would set strict time limits.
"This matter cannot be allowed to drift on, but I don't think there's anything more I can say now."