Cable reference id: #06HAMBURG85

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Reference id aka Wikileaks id #90078  ? 

Subject Hamburg Police Track Polonium Trail
Origin Consulate Hamburg (Germany)
Cable time Tue, 19 Dec 2006 11:38 UTC
Classification CONFIDENTIAL
Source http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/12/06HAMBURG85.html
Referenced by 08BERLIN628
History
  • Time unknown: Original unredacted version, leaked to Wikileaks
  • Thu, 2 Dec 2010 02:01: First publication, unredacted, however non-text content differs
  • Thu, 8 Sep 2011 13:29: Original unredacted version published, with HTML goodies
VZCZCXRO8675
RR RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHAG #0085/01 3531138
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 191138Z DEC 06
FM AMCONSUL HAMBURG
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0098
INFO RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0088
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0001
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 0001
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 0007
RUEHTC/AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE 0001
RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHAG/AMCONSUL HAMBURG 0112
Hide header
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HAMBURG 000085SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/19/2016
TAGS: KCRM [Criminal Activity], PTER [Terrorists and Terrorism], EAIR [Civil Aviation], PINR [Intelligence], PINS [National Security], KNNP [Nuclear Non-Proliferation], RS [Russia; Wrangel Islands], GM [Germany], UK [United Kingdom]
SUBJECT: HAMBURG POLICE TRACK POLONIUM TRAIL

HAMBURG 00000085 001.2 OF 002

CLASSIFIED BY: Duane Butcher, Consul General, Consulate General
Hamburg, State.
REASON: 1.4 (b)

¶1. (SBU) Summary: Hamburg State Police (LKA) confirmed December
14 that Dmitry Kovtun had left positive traces of polonium 210
in Hamburg prior to his departure from Hamburg for London on
November 1. A senior official in the Federal Interior Ministry
in Berlin also confirmed the reports and noted the ongoing
investigation. Hamburg police continue to examine where Kovtun
was and what he did while in Germany, but are not yet able to
confirm if Kovtun was transporting polonium or if he had been
contaminated through contact with the substance prior to his
arrival in Hamburg on October 28. End Summary.

¶2. (SBU) Pol/Econ Off and FSN Investigator met Hamburg LKA
Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Officer and director of
this special investigation Thomas Menzel December 14. Menzel,
who is also Director of the Hamburg LKA Organized Crime Unit,
explained that the Hamburg investigation started because
officers on his team drawing from press reports recognized a
connection between the Litvinenko case and the flight from
Hamburg to London and began to investigate whether Kovtun or
Andrei Lugovoi had been in Hamburg. They discovered that Kovtun
was a registered resident at the multi-family building at
Erzberger Strasse 4 in Hamburg’s Ottensen neighborhood and that
he had flown to Hamburg on October 28 on an Aeroflot flight from
Moscow. Menzel reported Hamburg authorities are working closely
with the Federal Office of Criminal Investigation (BKA) and is
receiving assistance from the Federal Central Support Unit and
the Federal Office of Radiation Protection. Menzel stated that
Stuart Goodwin from Scotland Yard has been in Hamburg since
December 12 and that cooperation between the British and Hamburg
police has been excellent. While the BKA and various German
agencies are involved in the investigation, Menzel confirmed
that Hamburg is leading the inquiry.

¶3. (SBU) The investigation’s main focus is to uncover Kovtun’s
whereabouts between October 28 and November 1 and to discover
any polonium-contaminated sites in the Hamburg region. Menzel
reported that the investigation has revealed:

– Kovtun arrived in Hamburg October 28 on the Aeroflot
flight from Moscow and was picked up from the airport in a BMW.
He spent that night at the apartment of Marina Wall, his
Russian/German ex-wife, at Erzberger Strasse 4. Kovtun has two
apartments in the Erzberger Strasse building, his ex-wife’s
residence and another apartment. Neighbors told police that he
had not used the second apartment for years and it has been
rented to other tenants. Wall’s apartment has tested positive
for polonium.

– On October 29, Kovtun spent the night at a house in
Haselau outside of Hamburg, which is where police found the BMW.
Both the Haselau residence and the BMW are contaminated with
polonium.

– On October 30, Kovtun kept an appointment with the
Office of Foreigner Registration in Hamburg-Altona, where he
signed a document. His signature has tested positive for
radiation. After visiting several locations in Hamburg,
including a restaurant and gambling hall, Kovtun spent the night
at the home of an Italian acquaintance on Kieler Strasse in
Hamburg. None of these locations have tested positive for
polonium.

– Kovtun again spent the night of October 31 at Wall’s
apartment on Erzberger Strasse. He departed by taxi for the
airport early on November 1 and flew to London on the 6:40 am
GermanWings flight.

¶4. (SBU) Menzel said the investigation is looking into several
unanswered questions. Hamburg police are trying to discover
whether Kovtun visited Hamburg prior to October 28 and where he
was between November 1 and the date he arrived in Moscow. They
are also looking into whether Lugovoi or any of the other
individuals involved in the Litvinenko case have been to Hamburg
in the recent past and have requested airlines to review their
passenger lists. Other remaining questions concern whether
there are any further contaminated locations in Hamburg or other
parts of Germany. Investigators hope to find out more about
Kovtun as an individual – what he did for a living, what his
personal background was, and whether he had worked at the
Russian Consulate in Hamburg in the past. Finally, Menzel was
curious about a possible Italian connection to the Litvinenko

HAMBURG 00000085 002.2 OF 002

case and noted that Kovtun had met with an Italian national in
Hamburg and that Italians played a role in the London
investigation as well.

¶5. (C) Federal Interior Minister Deputy DG for Counterterrorism
Gerhard Schindler discussed the status of the German
investigation during a meeting on other topics with EMIN
December 14. Schindler explained German officials retraced
Kovtun’s steps to and from his ex-wife’s home in Hamburg.
Schindler said Kovtun left polonium traces on everything he
touched – vehicles, objects, clothes, and furniture. German
investigators concluded Kovtun did not have polonium traces on
his skin or clothes; Schindler said the polonium was coming out
of his body, for example through his pores. German authorities
had tested the German Wings airplane that had taken Kovtun from
Hamburg to London; no traces of polonium were found. Germany
had wanted to test the Aeroflot plane that flew Kovtun to
Germany, and had prepared to ground it upon its next arrival in
Germany. Schindler said Russian authorities must have found out
about German plans because “at the last minute” Aeroflot swapped
planes; Schindler said he did not expect Aeroflot to fly the
other plane to Germany any time soon.

¶6. (U) This message has been coordinated with Embassy Berlin.
BUTCHER