Russian tycoon punches talk show guest
Russian billionaire and British newspaper proprietor Alexander Lebedev hurled punches at a fellow Russian businessman during a television talk show, knocking the property developer off his chair.
Sergei Polonsky, himself a one-time billionaire who lost part of his fortune during the economic crisis, goaded Mr Lebedev on the pre-recorded show, announcing he would rather punch someone than discuss financial issues with oligarchs.
"Do you want to try it out?" Mr Polonsky said.
Within seconds Mr Lebedev, who owns British newspapers including the Evening Standard and the Independent, jumped up and punched Mr Polonsky three times in the face, throwing him off his metal stool.
"I am in shock," a dazed Mr Polonsky later told the show's anchor, who intervened in the brawl and held Mr Lebedev back.
A host on the show, called "Crisis: The Russian response", said the brawl was a sign of a worsening economic situation.
"If oligarchs are fighting then it means things are not going well and the crisis is a very worrying issue," said Yekaterina Gordeyeva, with a slight smile.
Mr Lebedev, 51, is a former Russian spy who made billions trading stocks and bonds after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.
Mr Polonsky was on the Forbes billionaires list in 2008 but was knocked off during the economic crisis, which hit Russia harder than many other emerging countries.