Ex-KGB spy: UK tried to recruit me

MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) -- Andrei Lugovoi -- the man British authorities accuse of poisoning a former Russian spy in London last year -- told reporters Thursday he wasn't behind the ex-KGB agent's murder, but speculated the British government may have been.

"I don't know who killed him," Lugovoi, a former security service agent turned businessman, said at a Moscow press conference, according to a translation from Russia Today television.
He did, however, speculate on who was behind the poisoning of former spy Alexander Litvinenko, who died in November, several weeks after being exposed to toxic levels of polonium-210.

"It is difficult to abandon the idea that Litvinenko had become an agent of the British special services who got out of hand and was then eliminated -- if not by the special services themselves, then under their control or their connivance," he said.

As part of a "grim political story" the British special services recruited political refugee and Russian businessman Boris Berezovsky, who lives in London, to kill Litvinenko, Lugovoi said, according to Russian news agency Interfax.

"You don't have to be a lawyer to understand that there must be a motive behind such a crime," he said. "Alexander was not my enemy."

Lugovoi said Berezovsky's motive was Litvinenko's possession of "great material" that could expose the underhanded way Berezovsky acquired political refugee status in Britain.
Detailing the scheme, Lugovoi explained "those wishing to get political asylum should publish in Russia certain articles of a political content, an anti-Russian content, criticizing the course of the Russian government."

In addition, Lugovoi also claimed he was approached by the British special forces and asked to gain compromising information on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Attempts were made to openly recruit me as a British intelligence service agent," Lugovoi said. "The Britons in fact suggested that I collect any information that could compromise President Putin and members of his family."
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