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The widow of poisoned spy Alexander Litvinenko, Marina, is "utterly dismayed by the coroner's decision to abandon his search for the truth about Russian state responsibility for her husband's death", her solicitor has said.
Alexander Litvinenko died in November 2006 after his tea was poisoned with a radioactive poison, allegedly during a meeting with two Russians - former KGB contacts Andrei Lugovoy and Dmitry Kovtun, in central London.
Prosecutors named Lugovoy as the main suspect in the case but Russia has refused to extradite him to the UK for questioning.
The pre-inquest hearing heard details of Mr Litvinenko's work with MI6. He had been working with the agency for a "number of years" and was working with the Spanish secret service investigating the Russian mafia.
Litvinenko was paid by both British and Spanish secret services, into a joint bank account he shared with his wife, the court heard.
He had been due to travel to Spain with Mr Lugovoy shortly before his death to provide intelligence in an investigation into the Russian mafia's links to the Kremlin and Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to Ben Emmerson QC speaking at the pre-inquest hearing.
The inquest into the death of poisoned spy Alexander Litvinenko could be scrapped and replaced with a public inquiry to allow evidence to be heard in secret.
Coroner Sir Robert Owen published a ruling today which revealed that he cannot hear evidence on the preventability of Mr Litvinenko's death or linked to the alleged involvement of the Russian state in public.
Evidence cannot be heard in secret as part of an inquest but could be as part of a public inquiry.
Sir Robert said: "It is my present view that I should hear submissions as to whether I should invite the Secretary of State (the Home Secretary) on behalf of Government to consider whether the power to hold an inquiry should be exercised in this case."
He said that the issues of preventability and Russian involvement are of "central importance" to the investigation into Mr Litvinenko's death.
A friend of the former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko and his widow Marina said the coroner's decision was "deeply dismaying", and that it was "upsetting" that Britain had prioritised relations with Russia over the need to hold an open inquest: