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Billionaire Lebedev Willing to Cede Opposition Paper, Ekho Says

Russian billionaire newspaper owner Alexander Lebedev, who backs the opposition movement, is ready to cede his stake in Novaya Gazeta, the investigative newspaper he co-owns with former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Ekho Moskvy radio reported.

Lebedev, who told the Interfax news service earlier today that he’ll completely quit business after pressure from Russian authorities, said in an interview with Ekho Moskvy that he may hand his share in Novaya Gazeta to the newspaper’s editors.

Lebedev controls National Reserve Bank and owns 15 percent of state airline OAO Aeroflot. He also owns stakes in construction, property and agriculture companies as well as a budget airline, Red Wings. The billionaire also controls the London Evening Standard newspaper and the Independent in the U.K.

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