Raid on Russian tycoon Lebedev's bank

2010-11-02 16:24

Moscow - Russian banking and media tycoon Alexander Lebedev was being held on Tuesday inside the Moscow headquarters of a bank he owns while masked police rifled through company files, his spokesperson and police said.

Up to 30 armed Moscow city policemen surrounded Lebedev's National Reserve Bank and then entered the premises, apparently searching for certain documents, Levedev's spokesperson Artyom Artyomov told AP.

"They are from the city police. They are armed with guns and have masks. We don't know what they want. Lebedev is still inside," Artyomov said.

City police spokesperson Viktor Biryukov confirmed to AP that a raid was underway "in the framework of an ongoing criminal investigation". He would not elaborate.

Lebedev recently acquired Britain's Independent newspaper, owns the London Evening Standard, has a stake in Russia's Novaya Gazeta newspaper and is part-owner of national carrier Aeroflot.

Raiding company property and seizing computers and documents is common practice among Russia's law-enforcement agencies.