Police raid bank of Russian media tycoon Lebedev
Tuesday 02 November 2010
Armed police officers swarmed into the Moscow headquarters today of a bank belonging to Russian media tycoon Alexander Lebedev, the owner of
The Independent and the new
i title, who watched helplessly as they rifled through company files, his spokesman and police said.
Up to 50 masked officers raided the National Reserve Bank, jumping turnstiles to enter the offices and search for certain documents, Lebedev's spokesman, Artyom Artyomov, told The Associated Press.
"What do they need this idiotic show for?" Artyomov asked. "Why do they come in here with their guns and masks? If they need a file they can come with a piece of paper and just ask," he said.
City police spokesman Viktor Biryukov confirmed to The AP that the raid was part of an ongoing criminal investigation. He would not elaborate.
Lebedev, who owns two British newspapers, is the financial backer of a Russian opposition paper, but he is not known to be in conflict with the Kremlin. His fiercest political and business rival in recent years has been Yury Luzhkov, the Moscow mayor who was ousted in September. Some view Lebedev as a more liberal oligarch than those who follow the Kremlin line more closely .
He issues vague criticisms of corruption and authoritarianism in Russia from time to time, but always stops short of holding Prime Minister Vladimir Putin or President Dmitry Medvedev personally responsible, leading others to consider him a mere instrument of the Kremlin — living proof that Russia is a business-friendly democracy.
Raiding company property and seizing computers and documents is common practice among Russia's law-enforcement agencies. In many cases corrupt police act on behalf of rival businesses to seize ownership documents and potentially incriminating files.
The police left the bank after a few hours, but about 10 investigators in suits remained to continue the search, Artyomov said.
"We can't tell if they are trying to acquire information on the bank or on one of its clients," he said.
Lebedev recently bought Britain's Independent newspaper, owns the London Evening Standard, and is part-owner of national carrier Aeroflot.
- 1 Scottish referendum: So how about the English now being given a chance to split from England?
- 4 Matthew Miller: American sentenced to hard labour in North Korea 'wanted to be Snowden II'
- 5 Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Stamford Hill council removes 'unacceptable' posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
Kim Kardashian 'naked pictures' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence 'The Fappening' scandal
Isis in Syria: 60,000 Kurds flee terror in new exodus
Alan Henning kidnapping: Wife appeals for Isis to release 'peaceful and selfless' British aid worker
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...
£68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...
£69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...
£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...