24.01.2007 – Eurasian Security Services Daily Review

Russian President’s security men leaving nothing to chance
Italian Prime Minister slams British television channels over spy claim
Russian authorities deny halting probe against Berezovsky
Oleg Gordievsky: Litvinenko was poisoned after “dress rehearsal”
Uzbek security forces seize 40 kg of opium of Tajik origin
SBU: Ukraine’s Tax Administration is up to its eyes in corruption
Secretary of Kharkov mayoralty captures state security services officer
Bulgarian newspapers: ‘export’ of NATO secrets in black market and officers’ suicides
Former Czech civil intelligence head Randak to leave service

Russian President’s security men leaving nothing to chance

Russian President Vladimir Putin
and Indian PM Manmohan Singh

Russian President Vladimir Putin is to arrive on a two-day visit to India tomorrow, the fourth Russian president’s visit there, the last being in November 2004. The threat perception for Putin’s visit is lower than last time, but his security personnel are still bringing in their own limousines fitted with gizmos, leaving nothing to chance, India eNews.com reports.
Indian security officials have already had several rounds of discussions with Russia’s Federal Security Bureau (FSB) on the tiers of security that Putin will have during his stay in New Delhi. ‘They (Russians) are bringing in their own limousines fitted with gizmos and entry for visitors to Maurya Sheraton hotel, where Putin stays, will be restricted,’ a senior security official told IANS. During US President George W. Bush’s visit in March last year, the same hotel was completely sealed off for visitors and guests were asked to vacate as the US security establishment took over the establishment completely. ‘For Bush’s visit we issued more than 1,000 security passes for the contingent as there were many appointments in his schedule. But Putin’s engagements are few and it is going to be relatively easier and smoother,’ said an intelligence source.
In the last trip for the annual summit-level talks, Putin’s aides had even used vodka to disinfect silverware and wash down the cutlery. After meeting with Indian leaders and taking the salute for the Republic Day Parade January 26, Putin leaves for Moscow later in the evening.

Italian Prime Minister slams British television channels over spy claim
Representatives of the Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi rejected British TV allegations that he had had links to the Soviet KGB, radio Ekho Moskvy reports. Both the BBC and ITV broadcast channels the day before yesterday showed video footage of Alexander Litvinenko, the Russian state security former operative who was murdered by radiation in London in November, making the claim against Prodi.
Prodi was on a two-day visit to Turkey when the programmes were aired, but his spokesman issued a statement saying he was stunned British media were running a story which had been “cleared up by the Italian legal system and press”. Prodi’s spokesman said Britain’s two biggest television channels had fallen victim to “news piracy”.
“I am stunned that news organs which so often are seen as authoritative are lending credence to false news given by odd sources, to people who have already been discredited, to such news piracy,” spokesman Silvio Sircana said, according to radio Ekho Moskvy.
In its turn, AIA reported in October, that European Parliament member, former President of Lithuania, Vytautas Landsbergis, had distributed a letter to his colleagues suggesting that the head of Italy’s government, Romano Prodi, might be linked to the KGB, according to the weekly The Baltic Times. Landsbergis also said that Prodi may be related to Viktor Uspaskikh, Lithuania’s former economy minister, who as a party chairman was charged with mismanaging country’s Labor Party finances. According to The Baltic Times, in his letter, Landsbergis referenced reports by the Italian media that Prodi had a firm in Moscow, which, according to him, was a joint enterprise with the Moscow based Plekhanov institute, known as “the KGB’s economic branch.” Landsbergis also noted that the international European Democratic Party, which was founded by Prodi, not only included the Labour Party, but also appointed Uspaskikh, the Russian-born politician as its vice-president.

Russian authorities deny halting probe against Berezovsky

  Boris Berezovsky 

AIA reported yesterday that the Federal Security Service of Russia (FSB) and the country’s Prosecutor General’s Office had denied that a criminal investigation into the fugitive billionaire Boris Berezovsky had been suspended. Berezovsky, who lives in exile in London, was charged with attempting to seize power by force and making public calls for extremist activities.
Berezovsky’s lawyer Andrei Borovkov said earlier this week that the Prosecutor General’s Office had decided to suspend the investigation. In his turn, the FSB spokesman and Prosecutor General’s Office said the investigation was continuing.
However Berezovsky announced in the interview to radio Ekho Moskvy, that he has proofs that his case was closed. Berezovsky said he had an official document, sent by the State Office of Public Prosecutor, confirming suspension of investigation of the case against it. “As I have an official document, the State Office of Public Prosecutor has either sent me a false document, or they have deceived once again”, said Berezovsky. Ekho Moskvy radio posted on its web site a scanned copy of what appeared to be an official FSB letter to Berezovsky’s lawyer Semyon Aria, informing him that an investigation into a case, for which only a number was given, had been suspended. It was not immediately clear whether the letter, dated January 20, referred to the extremism case against Berezovsky, The Moscow Times adds.

Oleg Gordievsky: Litvinenko was poisoned after “dress rehearsal”
The former resident of the KGB in London, nowadays a historian of the Soviet secret services, Oleg Gordievsky, doubts of plausibility of the version of the BBC1about Alexander Litvinenko’s poisoning. In his opinion, the first attempt to poison the ex-Russian security officer, described in the BBC television film How to Poison the Spy, was actually a “dress rehearsal” of a special action on elimination of Litvinenko. In an interview to Radio Liberty Gordievsky expressed his opinion on the case.
Gordievsky does not think the version that there were several attempts to poison Litvinenko is true. If on the day in mid-October he would have palmed off any poison, he already would die by November 1, says the ex-spy. Gordievsky noted that all the operatives, secret services, militaries spend dress rehearsals of the operations. The first time there was a rehearsal, they had a poison with them because it is necessary to have all fighting substances at the disposal, they came, they started talking to him, however have not dared to put the ampoule. Also it is not known, whether there was an expert on poisons with them, as he might have had his rehearsal separately. The fact that it was a rehearsal is proved by many indirect signs and also with the traces of radioactivity left in several places earlier than November 1.
Gordievsky thinks that the expert examined the cafe, then the hotel room and having seen a teapot, cookies, sugar, in the room realized that it was possible to make some tea for five minutes there; so a hotel room was chosen. He says his information on a certain Vladislav, who had been filmed in the airports of Hamburg and London, is authentic for 90 percent.
Radio Liberty marked that a key witness in the case, Andrei Lugovoy, had already denied the reports that at a meeting with Litvinenko in the Millennium hotel there was a third person, except for him and Dmitry Kovtun.
Daily Moskovsky Komsomolets (MK) cites Lugovoy’s words that “it is easy enough to check up, who was in the day of the meeting with Litvinenko in the hotel, in the lobby, in the bar. Cameras had been fixing all around.” Gordievsky comments that if there was no third person, he himself (Lugovoy) might have put the poison. Anyway, according to the ex-spy, “the picture of the murder will certainly be restored very precisely”, however Gordievsky does not believe that the illegal that had put the pill in the tea would be ever caught.

Uzbek security forces seize 40 kg of opium of Tajik origin
As a result of a joint operation by the servicemen of Uzbekistan’s National Security Service and the country’s Interior Ministry, members of a criminal group have been detained with a large consignment of drugs smuggled from neighboring Tajikistan, online paper UzReport.com reports. The drugs were found in the boot of a iva car which was stopped for a check in Surkhandarya region’s Uzun district which borders Tajikistan. Karomatullo Hasanov, a resident of the region, born in 1971, was behind the wheel. In all, 17 packs of drugs weighing 40 kg, which was proved by an express analysis to be opium, were packed in two polythene bags.
Subsequently immediate investigative actions followed and other members of the criminal group were detained. They were residents of Surkhandarya region Muhammadoqil Yolbarsov, born in 1964 and Yusuf Saidqulov, born in 1976, the online paper says. It was established that Karomatullo Hasanov stored deadly products which were received from Tajik drug dealers in his house and Yolbarsov and Saidqulov searched for buyers. Surkhandarya region’s directorate of the National Security Service instituted a criminal proceedings and an investigation is under way, Uzbek Public TV reported.

SBU: Ukraine’s Tax Administration is up to its eyes in corruption
Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) notes high level of corruption on the State Tax Administration, online paper ForUm reports, referring to the . Press secretary of the SBU chief, Maryna Ostapenko, who held a briefing today in Kiev.
According to Ostapenko, SBU repeatedly informs governing body of the Tax Administration to take urgent measures to fight corruption. She underlined that the most violation are fixed in the sphere of compensation of VAT. Ostapenko informed that the SBU Kiev directorate had discovered facts of official forgery and negligence in actions of official of State Tax Inspection in Pechersky district in Kiev, that contributed to groundless compensation of VAT in the amount of about UAH 1 million to one Ltd. Company. On the basis of the SBU materials, the Office of Public Prosecutor of Kiev instituted proceedings against official of tax administration.
Ostapenko also reported that the SBU directorate in Ivano-Frankovsk region fined the deputy chief of control department of the state tax inspection of Tismenetsky district for giving illegal advantages to an entrepreneur during transfer of VAT sums on his account. In general, the SBU spokeswoman noted, “the level of corruption really exceeds all norms in all state bodies and institutions”. Ostapenko underscored that President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko set clear task to the SBU as regards fight against corruption, which threatens national security of Ukraine. At the same time she noted that the level of corruption in the Security Service is the least among bodies of the state power.

Secretary of Kharkov mayoralty captures state security services officer
The head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) Directorate in Kharkov area Andrei Mukhatayev announced about an illegal detention of an employee of the SBU Kharkov directorate, carried out by the Kharkov City Council Secretary Gennady Kernes, news agency UNIAN reports.
According to Mukhatayev, late on January 20, when being on duty that was not connected with the citizens of Ukraine, a SBU directorate’s officer was detained by force by the City Council Secretary Kernes. The SBU spokesman pointed out that the illegal actions connected with the search, personal inspection and withdrawal of personal belongings had been applied to this employee. Making comments on the incident, Mukhatayev emphasized that the actions of the SBU employee did not concern Gennady Kernes, the news agency says.
The SBU Directorate head expressed confidence that “after all materials of the case would be comprehensively studied, the Office of Public Prosecutor would state an appropriate estimation the actions of Kernes and other officials who took part in the situation”.
Muhatayev told the press that, except for the City Council Secretary, an employee of the Berkut special protection division of the Ministry of Interior of Ukraine, engaged in protection of Kernes, and several other officials participated in the conflict. No other names were revealed by the SBU Directorate head, according to UNIAN. Mukhtayev said he did not want that separate participants of these events would use the given incident for compromising actions of the Security Service of Ukraine, and would bring improbable information about the incident, mismatching the facts.

Bulgarian newspapers: ‘export’ of NATO secrets in black market and officers’ suicides
A report in the daily 24 Chasa speaks about alleged ‘export’ of NATO secrets to a Bulgarian politician. The story argues that certain
actions by right-wing opposition Democrats for Strong Bulgaria member of parliament and former head of the National Security Service (NSS) prompted an unofficial check in the NSS which however did not find any evidence about information leaks, the daily says, quoting NSS newly appointed head Ivan Drashkov.
In the other paper, a material, connected with the security services recent past, is printed under the title Black Market for Former State Security Files is Dangerous Business. The Monitor caps an interview with Ivan Komitski, Director of the Information and Archives Directorate in the
Interior Ministry of Bulgaria. Komitski stresses that one of the main aspects of the new bill on access to the documents of the secret services is to ‘paralyze’ the black market for files and speculations with data from the former state security.
In another development, discussing the apparent suicides, committed recently by two intelligence officers, Parliament’s Internal Security Committee Deputy Chairman Borislav Bulgarinov told the Monitor the theory that the two had been killed by others would hardly hold up.

Former Czech civil intelligence head Randak to leave service

Karel Randak  

Karel Randak, former head of the Czech civil intelligence (Urad pro zahranicni styki a informace – UZSI), is to leave its ranks, Czech Radio reported today. Spokesman of the service’s department of foreign relations and information, Bohumil Srajer, confirmed that general Randak had tendered his resignation from the service. According to the law, his service duties will end by March 31, 2007, the spokesman added. Srajer rejected to comment on the reports that Randak had been surprised in resigning.
Randak became a head of intelligence service in 2004. On September 20, 2006, the government headed by Mirek Topolanek (ODS) dismissed him, officially, due to the convergence of the intelligence (UZSI) and counterintelligence (Bezpecnostni informacni sluzba – BIS) services in one organization under the government.
According to Mlada fronta Dnes, Randak took his forced resignation deep to heart and most of all disagreed with the ways, how Minister Langer attempted to reorganize secret services. The minister has never explained why he decided to get rid of Randak, the paper writes. Many observers call a curiosity the fact those four months before the minister’s decision, in May, 2006, President Vaclav Klaus promoted him to the rank of general and Randak finally shaved his beard off on this occasion. 

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