The radioactive poison that killed Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko was delivered in the most civilized of circumstances — at tea time, as he sipped green tea with lemon and honey with two former spy colleagues at a posh London hotel.
It was Nov. 1, 2006, and Litvinenko was joined by former KGB agents Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun in the pine-paneled barroom of the Millennium in the city’s Mayfair district.
The head barman who served the three men that afternoon told investigators that right before they sat down together, Lugovoi asked for a cigar.
“The bill recorded that there were three guests in the group and that they had sat at Table 1,” said a report released Thursday, implicating the two men, Russia’s spy agency and President Vladimir Putin himself in what would happen next.
“A number of drinks were listed on the bill, both alcoholic and nonalcoholic.”
One of the items on the bill was “3 Tea.”
The barman “recalled that this was, in fact, an order for green tea with lemon and honey. He said that the tea had been made in one large pot by his colleague behind the bar and that he brought the pot and the cups to the table,” the report says.
It was not the barman’s practice to pour tea for customers, he told investigators.
“He said that the teapots in use in the Pine Bar at the time were made of white porcelain.”