MOSCOW, January 20. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian banker Alexander Lebedev denied media reports on Monday that he was allegedly intending to sell British newspaper The Independent, which he owns since 2010.
British daily The Guardian reported last week that Lebedev asked the founder of The Independent to seek a buyer for the newspaper.
“This is the fifth time over the past two years, when such rumors [on the sale of The Independent] emerge,” Lebedev said in an interview with Itar-Tass.
“They [The Guardian] are afraid of the growing circulation of The Independent and Evening Standard and the possible transfer of The Independent to the free-of-charge format, which would be the death for them [The Guardian],” Lebedev added.
Besides The Independent, Lebedev is also the owner of British newspaper Evening Standard, which he together with his son Yevgeny purchased in 2009 for 8.3 million British pounds ($13.6 million). The newspaper yielded a profit of over one million British pounds (over $1.6 million) between September of 2011 and September of 2012.
Lebedev, who used to own budget airline RedWings and was a shareholder in Russia’s top air carrier Aeroflot, is also the owner of the Russian daily Novaya Gazeta.