Russian billionaire faces 5 years in jail

2012-09-26 21:34
Alexander Lebedev, co-owner of the Russian independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta and editor of the London Evening Standard and The Independent. (Mike Theiler, AFP)

Alexander Lebedev, co-owner of the Russian independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta and editor of the London Evening Standard and The Independent. (Mike Theiler, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Moscow - Billionaire Kremlin critic Alexander Lebedev was charged on Wednesday with "hooliganism" over a televised punch-up and faces up to five years in jail in a case which he says is a vendetta by President Vladimir Putin.

The 52-year-old backer of British newspapers The Independent and London's Evening Standard, whose net worth was put at $1.1bn by Forbes magazine in March, was also ordered by Russia's Investigative Committee not to leave the country.

Lebedev, who also owns a Russian bank and a campaigning Russian newspaper, says he is being punished for criticising the Kremlin and sees his treatment as part of a crackdown on dissent since Putin returned to the presidency in May.

Lebedev refused to sign a form limiting his travel, citing legal rights, but does not plan to leave Russia, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters after the federal investigative body posted the charges on its website.

He faces the same charge of hooliganism motivated by religious, political, racial, ethnic or ideological hatred as three women from the punk band Pussy Riot who were jailed in August after bursting into a Russian Orthodox church and belting out a profanity-laced anti-Putin protest.

Lebedev is rare among the so-called Russian oligarchs in openly criticising the Kremlin, but he has denied any involvement in opposition politics.

"I know the position of the president," he said in an interview on Tuesday.

"He thinks it is true that I have been funding [the opposition], so I was violating rule No 1 - if you have money you should not interfere [in politics]."

Prosecutors opened an investigation last year into Lebedev for throwing a punch at property developer Sergei Polonsky, himself a one-time billionaire, while they were on a primetime television talk show.

Putin's spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, declined to comment. He had previously said that the Kremlin had not put pressure on Lebedev or other wealthy Russians over their business interests.

Most wealthy Russian businessmen have avoided criticising the Kremlin since the arrest in 2003 of former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky after he defied Putin by taking an interest in opposition politics. He is still in prison.

Read more on:    vladimir putin  |  russia
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
5 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Sport
 

Watch: 5 skills to improve your BMX riding

Learn some great skills that will help your riding on the road and on the track.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Tips on how to set your fitness goals
This all-terrain vehicle is badass!
The TRUTH about painkillers and exercise
WIN! Where were you when you last felt alive?

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Production/Office Administrator - Table View

Table View - Parklands
Your Move Personnel
R8 500 - R10 000 Per Month

Graduate .Net Developer

Cape Town
Communicate Cape Town IT
R10 000 - R18 000 Per Month

Group Financial Accountant

Cape Town Northern Suburbs
Network Finance Sunninghill
R500 000 - R540 000 Per Year

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Save 20% on Nivea beauty products!

Buy any two Nivea beauty products and save 20%. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a strong social and romantic overtone that plays its way into your day. It may get stronger later in the day when the...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.