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Suspect in killing of Russian spy to consult on Russian TV miniseries about the case

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MOSCOW — A Russian production company has hired a man charged with the murder of a Russian agent as a consultant on a TV series about the mysterious death.

Former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko died in London in 2006 after drinking tea laced with radioactive polonium-210. Britain identified the two Russian men who had met Litvinenko for tea as prime suspects and charged one of them, Andrei Lugovoi, with murder.

Moscow refused to extradite Lugovoi, who was soon elected to the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, the State Duma, where he still sits.

The studio, Central Partnership, said in a statement Tuesday that Lugovoi has been hired to share his memories of the meeting with Litvinenko and to consult the actors and the director of the miniseries. Lugovoi has also helped the screenwriter with the script, the production company said.

Central Partnership quoted Lugovoi as saying he chose a Russian company after being approached by foreign studios he didn't trust.

"I made a conscious decision to turn down all of them because I understood that none of them were able to tell this Russian story truthfully because of a different mentality," Lugovoi said in the statement.

An inquest into Litvinenko's death stalled over authorities' reluctance to disclose secret intelligence evidence. But in July Britain announced a public inquiry into the death.

Lawyers for Litvinenko's family said he was working for MI6, Britain's foreign intelligence agency, at the time of his death.

The case soured British-Russian relations for years, leading both sides to expel diplomats.

Those lingering political tensions worsened recently as Britain and other Western powers accused Russia of fomenting unrest in Ukraine and being complicit in the downing of a Malaysia Airlines jet over eastern Ukraine.

Britain, along with France and Germany, has been pushing for harsher sanctions on Russia.

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