Aftenposten Nettutgaven
 Thursday February 14 2008
Aftenposten Nettutgaven First published: 06 Sep 2007, 11:37
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Svetlichnaja and Litvinenko: Clarifications

In connection with the death of Alexander Litvinenko in London last year, Aftenposten reported on statements made by Russian-born doctoral student Julia Svetlichnaja of the University of Westminster in London. She had reported in the British media on her several meetings with Litvinenko including claims that he told her he planned to extort money from leading Russian businessmen.

Aftenposten cited unnamed Russian experts who in turn claimed that Julia Svetlichnaja had been assigned by the Russian authorities to discredit Mr Litvinenko. Aftenposten clarifies that the newspaper has no basis for asserting that these claims are correct.

In reference to its front-page summary of the story on 9 December 2006 and an article published in Aftenposten's online English-language news service on 11 December, Aftenposten also clarifies that it was not Julia Svetlichnaja who tried to prevent Aftenposten's correspondent from asking questions at a press conference held in London. Aftenposten clarifies that their correspondent's questions were answered in full by Julia Svetlichnaja at the press conference.

Aftenposten also clarifies that the headline on their report of the conference "Litvinenko's Accuser Turns Her Fury on Aftenposten" was incorrect.

Aftenposten's online English-language news service also noted in its article that British media had linked the website of Russian Investors which featured Ms Svetlichnaja's name to the Russian state. The company is registered as privately owned. Ms Svetlichnaja had in fact formerly worked for a British services company which had designed a website for Russian Investors in 2005.

In March of this year, a court in London granted Ms Svetlichnaja compensation from The Sunday Times for an article published 10 December last year. The newspaper had suggested that she may have taken part in a Kremlin effort to discredit Litvinenko. The Sunday Times was also ordered to withdraw its report, and apologize in open court and pay to Ms Svetlichnaja substantial undisclosed damages.


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