London, Sep 21 (IANS/RIA Novosti) An inquest into the death of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, who was allegedly poisoned to death in London in 2006, will open in 2013, the case's presiding judge said at a preliminary hearing.
Litvinenko, a former KGB officer, was allegedly poisoned to death after he became critical of the Vladimir Putin regime.
He died in November 2006 at a London hospital after being poisoned with radioactive substance polonium-210. He had fled to Britain in 2000.
The case has become the focus of a high-profile tussle between London and Moscow.
Litvinenko's family alleges the Kremlin was behind his death, and the inquest will consider links between his death and the Russian authorities.
The primary person of interest in the case, current Russian parliamentarian Andrei Lugovoi, has dodged British attempts at extradition. Lugovoi has denied involvement in the killing.
Presiding judge Robert Owen said at a preliminary hearing Thursday that two more preliminary meetings will be scheduled, in November and December, before the main one next year.
The parties represented in the case include Litvinenko's widow Marina, oligarch and benefactor Boris Berezovsky, Lugovoi, London's Metropolitan Police, the Crown Prosecution Service, and the British government.