A Russian billionaire and former KGB agent is buying a controlling stake in the venerable Evening Standard, the London newspaper announced Wednesday.
Alexander Lebedev, 49, already owns the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, one of the few pro-democracy newspapers in Russia.
Lebedev is buying the Evening Standard for £1, or $1.38, a spokesman for the deal told CNN. While it sounds like a steal, the purchase price is more symbolic than reflective of the paper’s worth. With it, Lebedev also assumes the unprofitable paper’s debts.
The Standard reported it is the first time a Russian business magnate and former member of a foreign intelligence service has owned a British title.
Lebedev told The Guardian newspaper this month that he read the Evening Standard when he was a spy working at the Soviet Embassy in London in the late 1980s.