Berlin police investigate report of Russian exiles falling ill

BERLIN (AP) — German police are investigating reports that at least two Russian exiles fell ill around the time they attended a conference in Berlin last month linked to a Russian opposition figure.

Berlin police confirmed their investigation in an email responding to a query by The Associated Press, but wouldn’t give any details. The probe is being conducted by a police unit that handles politically motivated crimes.

The Russian media outlet Agentstvo reported that two participants in an April 29-30 conference organized by Russian opposition figure Mikhail Khodorkovsky experienced health problems around the time of or after the event.

Natalia Arno, head of the U.S.-based Free Russia Foundation, said in a May 16 Facebook post that she woke up with acute pain and strange symptoms during a trip to two European cities before she returned to the United States. There is some suspicion that she was poisoned, possibly by a nerve agent, Arno said in the post.

In a second case, Agentstvo reported that a journalist it didn’t identify may have developed symptoms before the meeting organized by Khodorkovsky.

Germany’s Welt am Sonntag newspaper first reported on the investigation by German police.

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