Lebedev avoids jail but still insists he is not guilty of battery after punching rival on TV - Press Gazette

Lebedev avoids jail but still insists he is not guilty of battery after punching rival on TV

Russian media mogul Alexander Lebedev has been sentenced to 150 hours of community service after being found guilty of battery by a Russian court.

Lebedev, the financial backer of the Independent newspapers and London’s Evening Standard, avoided a jail sentence after prosecutors dropped charges of “hooliganism motivated by political hatred” for his televised attack on property tycoon Sergei Polonsky in 2011.

According to the Independent, Lebedev plans to appeal the guilty verdict, despite accepting that it he had been given “lowest possible” punishment.

His lawyer, Henri Rezek, said the judge should be "ashamed" of the verdict, claiming that the case had been about "revenge by certain people through the courts".

Lebedev also owns Russian investigative newspaper Novaya Gazeta and said he was prepared to undergo his community service there if his appeal fails.

He could have been given a jail term of up to five years if prosecutors had pursued the more serious charges, which were similar to those which resulted in the jailing of punk protest group Pussy Riot last year.

Evgeny Lebedev, the nominal owner of his father’s UK newspapers, said: “I am relieved that my father has been spared a custodial sentence, and that this deeply worrying time for our family is finally at an end. We are grateful for the messages of support we have received from friends and well wishers, in Russia and around the world.”

Lebedev's appeal will centre on the argument that battery involves three or more punches and Lebedev only punched his opponent twice.



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