The former KGB agent suspected of murdering Alexander Litvinenko said today that he will refuse to assist the London-based inquest into the spy's death.
Andrei Lugovoy, who is now a Russian politician, told a press conference in Moscow that he could not receive "justice" in Britain.
Mr Litvinenko died in November 2006 after he was poisoned with polonium-210 while drinking tea at a London meeting - allegedly with Mr Lugovoy, who denies all involvement.
While attempts to extradite Mr Lugovoy to Britain have been rejected by the Russians, it was hoped he might have provided evidence by video-link.
Mr Lugovoy reportedly told the press conference: "I have no hope to get justice in the UK. I finally lost faith in the possibility of an impartial investigation of the case in England.
"I have to say that I'm out of the coroner's investigation and I will not participate in it."
It has been claimed that Mr Lugovoy and another former KGB agent Dmitry Kovtun poisoned Mr Litvinenko at the Millennium Hotel in London's Grosvenor Square.
A previous hearing heard that Mr Litvinenko had been working for the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) for a number of years and was also working with the Spanish secret service investigating the Russian mafia shortly before his death.
He was said to regularly meet an MI6 handler, named only as Martin, in central London and was paid by both the British and Spanish secret services into a joint bank account he held with his wife.
Coroner Sir Robert Owen ruled last month that evidence that will allegely reveal Mr Litvinenko's ties to MI6 will be examined in secret.
Foreign Secretary William Hague has claimed that the disclosure could pose a risk to national security.
Ben Emmerson QC, acting for Mr Litvinenko's widow Marina, accused Mr Hague last month of "approaching his cover-up responsibilities with alacrity and enthusiasm."
He said without this evidence, the inquiry would not be able to fulfil its responsibilities and that the situation was "shaping up to be a stain on British justice."
The inquest is due to formally open on May 1 - more than six years after Mr Litvinenko was killed.
Sir Robert will hear applications for anonymity of witnesses and consider submissions on the inquest timetable at a hearing on Thursday.
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