Alexander Lebedev is a Russian banker and philanthropist. A member of the KGB's Foreign Intelligence Service, he worked in the USSR Embassy in London in the 1980s. Since 1992 he has been a businessman and founded the financial and industrial group National Reserve Corporation, including National Reserve Bank. In the UK he bought The Independent and the Evening Standard newspapers.

Alexander Lebedev and Arch Tait at the book launch (photo Dave Benett)


  Alexander Lebedev

Hunt the Banker :
The Confessions of a Russian ex-Oligarch

Translated by Arch Tait

Quiller, 2019
Hardback, 17.26

ISBN 978-1-846-89303-2
255 pages

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  Hunt the Banker is written in a wry and humorous manner. The book is mainly a memoir of Lebedev's own hair-raising experiences as someone who aspires to show that an 'honest banker' is not an oxymoron. There is the thread of a whodunnit as his attempts at constructive and charitable business enterprises are systematically torpedoed by a person or persons unknown. He describes the dirty tricks used against him and the attempt to assassinate him and details how the Russian and international political and business elite live.

Lebedev tells of his relations with leading politicians, businessmen and cultural figures in Russia and abroad, and investigates corruption scandals, dodgy multi-billion-dollar deals and contract killings.

A comical episode is how he faced five years of imprisonment for a minor fracas during a television talk show, and how world show business stars (Elton John, Hugh Grant, Keira Knightley, John Malkovich, Ian McKellen, Stephen Fry) rallied to his defence. He describes how and why he became involved with two prominent UK newspapers.

Lebedev reveals his access to inside sources of information, with policemen and secret policemen slipping him memoirs and transcripts of episodes which would otherwise have remained a mystery. It is ultimately a portrait of a political system which ensures that genuine attempts to improve the fortunes of his country and its citizens are built on sand.


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