Lebedev blames government for police raid on his Moscow bank

 

Alexander Lebedev, the Russian businessman and newspaper owner, said yesterday that his Moscow bank had been raided by plain-clothes police, in what he said was a politically motivated move. Mr Lebedev, who is the financial backer of The Independent and the Evening Standard, also has a stake in the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, and he suggested that the recent raid was linked to reports in his Russian newspaper critical of the government.

He said other Russian media outlets had also faced problems in the run-up to presidential elections in a fortnight, when the Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, plans to return to the Kremlin.

Mr Lebedev said police, central bank officials and agents of the FSB security services have been carrying out checks at branches of his National Reserve Bank across Russia for the past fortnight, and that yesterday four agents came to the headquarters in Moscow. "They said if we didn't let them in, they'd come back with troops, as has happened before." Mr Lebedev's bank was raided by masked men wielding Kalashnikovs in late 2010.

"This week, they've been going through all my payments to media outlets, and my sources have told me that they have been instructed to find instances of money laundering, and also to find out if I'm funding the political opposition in any way." Novaya Gazeta often runs hard-hitting investigations and stories critical of the government, and Mr Lebedev himself has spoken out in support of Alexei Navalny, an anti-corruption activist. "It's unclear if the order to search the bank comes from the very top, or from people further down, who think they will please the boss by doing this," Mr Lebedev said.

The businessman added: "Either this is just an exercise to keep us quiet for a few months, or they produce a falsified piece of paper to suggest money laundering and we have to go to court," he said. "Or, finally, Putin picks up the phone and orders whoever is doing this to stop harassing the opposition media."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: New Lift Sales Executive - Lift and Elevators

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A challenging opportunity for a...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss