Lebedev does not interfere - he just has his own column

The Russian billionaire seeking to buy the London Evening Standard has a history of not interfering in editorial, according to the editor of the Russian newspaper he part owns.

But Lebedev does like to write a shareholder’s column when something appears in the paper he disagrees with.

Lebedev owns 39 per cent of opposition Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, Mikhail Gorbachev owns 10 per cent and the journalists themselves the remaining 51 per cent – the Guardian reports.

Editor Dimitry Muratov says Lebedev is not “another mad billionaire showing off” but he says: “He only owns 39 per cent of my paper, it may be different if he owns more than 70 per cent.”

The Guardian was the first outlet to break news that Lebedev was in talks to buy the Standard – on 8 January.

But The Guardian was over confident when it reported as fact last Wednesday that the deal was going to happen the next day.

Guardian media blogger Roy Greenslade, who writes a column for the Evening Standard, distanced himself from the story on Thursday – saying that it was by no means a done deal and “clouded in confusion”.

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