HL Deb 04 May 1993 vol 545 cc593-4

2.46 p.m.

Lord Bethell asked Her Majesty's Government:

What action they propose to take in the light of the admission, published in the Mail on Sunday on 4th April 1993, by the former KGB agent Mr Oleg Kalugin that he helped to plan the murder in London of Mr Georgi Markov, a BBC employee.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Earl Ferrers)

My Lords, the murder of Mr. Markov is the subject of current investigation by the Metropolitan Police and the Bulgarian authorities. It would therefore not be right for me to comment on any press article on the subject.

Lord Bethell

My Lords, is my noble friend aware that the murder of Mr. Markov took place just a few yards from where we are sitting and that it remains unsolved? Is my noble friend further aware that Mr. Kalugin has said in print—and has been quoted—that he was responsible for that murder, or certainly that he helped organise it? Would it not be appropriate during Mr. Kalugin's next visit to the country —he visits frequently—for the Metropolitan Police to ask him to help them in their inquiries into this unsolved murder?

Earl Ferrers

My Lords, I am of course aware that the murder took place not far from here. The difficulty has been that before 1989 there was no access to archives, and these are likely to give the most suitable lead. The archives were destroyed during the changes that took place in Bulgaria and, as a result, one person has been serving 14 months in gaol for destroying the documents. It is of course up to the Metropolitan Police to take such initiatives as they see fit in solving this problem. I can assure my noble friend that the Metropolitan Police and the Bulgarian authorities are co-operating on this matter.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

My Lords, I appreciate that the Minister cannot answer for the activities of the Metropolitan Police while they are conducting their inquiries. However, can he tell the House whether, if the police come to the conclusion that Mr. Kalugin ought to be interviewed, it would be possible for him to be extradited for that purpose?

Earl Ferrers

My Lords, if someone were to be interviewed, it would be up to the Metropolitan Police to go to the country concerned to conduct the interview with the approval of the appropriate authorities. With regard to extradition, there would need to be sufficient information to mount a prosecution in this country. So far there has not been sufficient information to do so. If there were to be sufficient information, we would have to ask for extradition under special circumstances because there is no extradition treaty with Russia.