The Russian owner of the Independent and Evening Standard has been found guilty of battery after he punched another businessman on television.
Alexander Lebedev avoided a prison sentence after prosecutors dropped their argument that he be found guilty of ‘hooliganism motivated by political hatred’ – which could have landed him up to five years in jail.
Instead, Lebedev was sentenced to 150 hours’ community service, which he intends to appeal after claiming he was “protecting myself against a dangerous hooligan”.
Lebedev claims that punching real estate tycoon Sergei Polonsky during a chat show was a reaction to Polonsky’s threat of violence towards him.
Despite the incident occurring in 2011, Lebedev was not charged until September 2012, following comments by the Russian president that Lebedev’s public attack was an act of hooliganism.
Lebedev has since claimed the whole case against him has been “completely trumped up, fabricated, invented from A to Z“.
Polonsky made no appearance throughout Lebedev’s trial, having believed to have spent the majority of the time in Cambodia. It is now believed he has fled to Israel.
(Source: The Guardian)