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Alexei Druzhinin / Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

A investigation from BuzzFeed News has found the "British government is suppressing explosive intelligence" related to the 2012 death of Russian whistleblower Alexander Perepilichny, who was found dead in England with traces of a rare toxin in his stomach. Before he died, Perepilichny helped expose a Russian money laundering scam worth $230 million.

  • Putin's role: U.S. intel officials said they passed intelligence to MI6, the British spy agency, that Perepilichny was likely "assassinated on direct orders from Putin or people close to him." The Office of the Director of National Intelligence last year asserted with "high confidence" Putin sanctioned the alleged murder.
  • Similarly, French police are treating the death as a suspected organized assassination, but British police haven't cooperated with that investigation.
  • Theresa May's government invoked national security powers in 2016 to withhold evidence from the inquest into his cause of death.

U.S. and U.K. officials said the U.K. government doesn't want to hurt U.K.-Russian relations, as in a 2006 incident in which the U.K accused Moscow of murdering former KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko in London.

"Several officials said the British government was particularly keen to preserve the flow of Russian money into London banks and properties," BuzzFeed writes.

What's next: The inquest into his cause of death opened June 5 this year and will last several weeks. The police and Perepilichny's wife are arguing he died of natural causes. His life insurance company is arguing murder and is accusing the police of a cover-up. His lawyers are claiming he was killed for exposing the fraud.

Don't forget: nine Russians have died under suspicious circumstances since November 2016, including six diplomats, a former KGB official with links to the Trump dossier, a former Russian MP, and a top Russian space official who was found dead March 18, apparently from stab wounds, while being held on embezzlement charges, which he denied.

Go deeper

Storms pummel Pacific Northwest as floodwaters rise

An image of the water-logged Sumas Prairie area taken last Friday. Photo: B.C. Ministry of Transportation/Twitter.

The latest ferocious storm system to hit the Pacific Northwest triggered fresh evacuation orders in flood-ravaged British Columbia and at least one mudslide late Sunday.

Threat level: Flood sirens sounded in Washington state as the Nooksack River overflowed south across the border and into Canada. Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun told reporters there was "nothing to stop it," as the rising waters neared the B.C. border city.

Updated 1 hour ago - Health

First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada

COVID-19 testing personnel at Toronto Pearson International Airport in September. Photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The first two cases of the new Omicron variant have been detected in North America, the Canadian government announced Sunday evening.

Driving the news: The World Health Organization has named Omicron a "variant of concern," but cautioned earlier on Sunday that it is not yet clear whether it's more transmissible than other strains of COVID-19.

Former Defense Secretary Esper sues Pentagon over book

Former President Trump and former Defense Secretary Mark Esper at the White House in 2020. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper filed a lawsuit Sunday against the Defense Department, accusing the Pentagon of "censoring" his First Amendment rights by redacting parts of his upcoming book on the Trump administration.

The big picture: Esper, who served as defense secretary from July 2019 until he was fired by then-President Trump in November last year, alleges in the suit that "significant text" is "being improperly withheld from publication" of the manuscript "under the guise of classification."