( RIA Novosti ) - Alexander Litvinenko visited Chechnya to eliminate witnesses linking tycoon Boris Berezovsky to the terrorist warlord Shamil Basayev, a deputy Russian Interior Ministry said Friday.
"We have reliable information about Litvinenko's visits to the Chechen Republic via Georgia. He was there to eliminate evidence of Berezovsky's involvement in funding illegal armed groups there, and Basayev's contacts," Arkady Yedelyov said in Nalchik, the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria, a Russian republic in the North Caucasus.
Yedelyov said the information was obtained during an investigation into the terrorist invasion of the Russian republic of Daghestan, on the Caspian coast, from neighboring Chechnya in 1999, and multiple terrorist attacks in Moscow, the Stavropol Territory and the southern towns of Volgodonsk and Buinaksk.
"We have found witnesses who testified that several million rubles Berezovsky had given to Basayev, purportedly to have a factory repaired, were spent on weapons," the Russian official said.
That done, Litvinenko came to Chechnya "with instructions from Berezovsky" to eliminate the witnesses, he said.
"But Litvinenko failed to do this," Yedelyov said.