LONDON, July 12 (RAPSI, Maria Tabak, Denis Voroshilov) - The UK government has decided not to hold a public inquiry into the death of former Russian FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko, Coroner Sir Robert Owen said on Friday.

He said during a hearing in the Royal Courts of Justice that he had received a note saying the government had denied his request for an inquiry.

Sir Robert had called for a public inquiry into Litvinenko's death when, at the request of Foreign Secretary William Hague, he had to exclude documents linking Russia's security agencies to his alleged poisoning in 2006 and other material examining whether Britain could have prevented the murder.

Sir Robert then wrote to Justice Secretary Chris Grayling to ask for a public inquiry, under which some sessions could be held behind closed doors and which would therefore be able to consider secret evidence.

Litvinenko's widow, Marina, urged the UK government to opt for a public inquiry for the same reason. She said she would boycott the inquest otherwise. It is likely she will now contest the government's decision in court.

Litvinenko, 43, a former FSB officer who fled to the UK in 2000, was allegedly poisoned by radioactive Polonium-210 while drinking tea during a meeting with former security colleagues at the Millennium Hotel in Grosvenor Square in November 2006.

He died three weeks later in University College Hospital.

FSB retiree Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun have been identified as the prime suspects, but both deny any involvement.