Alexander Lebedev is regarded as a highly intelligent and cultured man
Russian billionaire and ex-KGB agent Alexander Lebedev is buying the Evening Standard, a newspaper he used for information when he was a young spy based in London.
According to Forbes magazine, he is Russia's 39th richest man with a net worth of $3.1bn (£2.1bn).
He already owns a newspaper in Russia, has a stake in the national airline Aeroflot, and his property portfolio includes a string of boutique hotels across Europe.
Unlike most Russian oligarchs, his fortune was made through banking, not natural resources.
Indeed, the 49-year-old, who describes himself as a "capitalist-idealist", is keen to distance himself from the Russian oligarch class.
Mr Lebedev is certainly a contradiction.
He is clearly a member of Russia's establishment. He is a close friend of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and lives in Rublyovka, Moscow's most prestigious neighbourhood.
But he has used his wealth to fashion a career as a philanthropist and an independent politician.
Newsnight spoke to Mr Lebedev in 2003
His frustration with corruption in Russia and his willingness to expose it has brought him enemies.
He was a member of the Russian parliament, the Duma, until 2007, but his political life has not been as high-flying as his business career.
In October, he said he was teaming up with Mr Gorbachev to help him form the Independent Democratic Party, a new opposition movement for economic and legal reform and independent media. But the project appears to have fallen by the wayside.
He has been more successful in maintaining a dissenting voice through his newspapers.
In 2006, he again teamed up with Mr Gorbachev to buy a stake in the Russian paper, the Novaya Gazeta paper where murdered journalist and Kremlin critic Anna Politkovskaya worked.
It continues to report on themes the Kremlin-controlled media prefer to ignore - corruption, human rights abuses in Chechnya, and the activities of the FSB, Russia's post KGB spy agency.
Lebedev is trying to do something so the country will be better
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