Alexander Lebedev, owner of the London Evening Standard, has revealed that he may be dying from possible mercury poisoning.
The former KGB agent turned billionaire told Saturday’s Daily Telegraph he is being treated for mercury poisoning after tests showed a mysterious spike in his blood mercury levels to 14 times the normal limit.
Despite looking the picture of health as he wandered the garden of his Umbrian hotel, interviewer Kate Weinberg wrote that Lebedev casually mentions his Belgian endocrinologist has warned him raised mercury level may well be high enough to enter his nervous system, then his brain, and begin to kill off his memory.
Lebedev jokes: “Though if I wake up tomorrow morning and cannot remember Putin, that would be nice.”
Weinberg says the condition has echoes of another former KGB spy, Alexander Litvinenko who was poisoned in London in 2006.
Asked if he believes that the Kremlin has poisoned him, Lebedev shakes his head.
“I think it has not come from a political enemy or a rival, but someone close to me,” he says. “An old story: moneyâ€¦ It’s simple.”
He claims that the greatest threat to his life comes from the gambling mafia.
Never one to shy away from enhancing his already mysterious aura, teasing or making a joke about himself, Lebedev again raised the possibility that he could buy the Independent.
“I am following the picture,” he said. “There are things to consider, the inevitable matter of redundancies and whether it has lost its niche in the market.”