Sept. 26 - Billionaire Kremlin critic Alexander Lebedev has been charged with ''hooliganism'' over a televised punch-up and faces up to five years in jail in a case which he says is a vendetta by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Andrew Potter reports.
This is the moment which has landed Russian billionaire Alexander Lebedev in trouble. Losing his cool with a fellow guest on a television show last September. Now, more than a year on, he's been charged with hooliganism and could face years in prison. Lebedev says he's being punished for his criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and what he views as a crackdown on dissent. (SOUNDBITE) (English) RUSSIAN TYCOON ALEXANDER LEBEDEV, SAYING: "And so we've been investigating hundreds of billions U.S. dollars fraud and corruption in this country, and some rogue policemen and FSB officers have been involved. And I think that's what gives you the final answer why." Lebedev owns a Russian bank, the campaigning Russian publication Novaya Gazeta and two British newspapers. He's rare among Russia's oligarchs in openly criticising the Kremlin. Most avoid doing so since the arrest in 2003 of former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky. He defied Putin by taking an interest in opposition politics and is still in prison. Lebedev has been ordered by investigators not to leave the country. Andrew Potter, Reuters