Billionaire Alexander Lebedev denied an interest in acquiring Rupert Murdoch’s defunct News of the World but said he wanted to publish a similar newspaper in Russia.
Lebedev, whose media assets include three British newspapers and Novaya Gazeta, was quoted by Bloomberg as saying in an interview this week that he “half-jokingly” wished to remake News of the World under the brand World News and use it to expose corruption by rich and powerful people.
But Lebedev told Russian News Service on Thursday that he had been unsuccessfully “exercising his sense of humor” in his remarks to Bloomberg and had no interest in News of the World.
Instead, Lebedev said, he wanted to launch a Russian newspaper patterned after News of the World called Novaya Novost. He said he applied to Mayor Sergei Sobyanin this week for permission to publish the new newspaper with a circulation of 4 million copies and distribute it in the metro.
“We won’t break the law or behave unethically,” he said. “But will write about things you need to know.”