The former Russian double agent mysteriously poisoned by nerve gas in Salisbury has been linked to a security consultant involved in the controversial investigation into President Donald Trump and allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 American election.
Christopher Steele, a former MI6 agent who runs the Orbis consultancy, played the lead role in the compilation of the explosive dossier on President Trump which detailed allegations about corrupt links between the top of the White House and Vladimir Putin. The dossier has prompted an official US inquiry into Russian collusion in the presidential process.
Steele became close to murder attempt victim Sergei Skripal after a spy swap took him to Salisbury and they ended up living nearby each other.
Police, secret service offices and scientists are still trying to confirm the nature and probable source of the toxin which has left Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia (pictured), who was visiting from Russia, fighting for their lives in a British hospital after an assassination attempt last weekend. A police officer caught up in the poison attack when he tried to help has been named as DS Nick Bailey and said to be improving but seriously ill. Police were conducting a search of Skripal’s home in Salisbury while trying to piece together his final movements. Home Secretary Amber Rudd, in a statement to the House of Commons, told MPs that the toxin used in the attack was very rare and described the incident as “attempted murder in the most cruel and public way”.
The authorities refused confirm reports of any link between Skripal, the Trump investigation or Christopher Steele, whose listing on the social network LinkedIn has been removed in the past week. Police are searching for a motive for the attempted assassination though there are rumours that he was actually still working for the British security services. One of the lines of inquiry being pursued by counter terrorism police is the mystery of why Skripal was targeted so long after being expelled from Russia. Skripal had been sentenced in 2006 to 13 years imprisonment for being a traitor. But he was released from a penal colony to Britain as part of a spy swap seven years ago.
The murder attempt on Skripal has raised questions in Parliament about a potential Russian role and previous unexplained attacks on Russians living in Britain, including the infamous death of former Russian secret service officer Alexander Litvinenko.