'Enthralling memoir' from banker turned press baron
Alexander Lebedev is best known here as the Russian businessman who bought the Evening Standard and The Independent newspapers in the UK. A former KGB intelligence officer in the USSR’s London Embassy, his book covers the years from his birth in 1959 up to 2016.
Andrew Johnston, md of Quiller, said: "I am really pleased to have secured this outstanding memoir for our burgeoning biography list. It is a fascinating and revealing exposé not only of Putin’s Russia but from being a KGB officer in London in the 1980s it is journey through the trials and tribulations of high finance and corruption in modern Russia to acquiring the Evening Standard and The Independent in London. This will appeal to anyone with an interest in world politics, international banking and survival in the face of overwhelming odds."
According to the acquisition announcement: 'The author reveals details of how the Russian and international political and business elite live, talks about his relations with leading politicians, businessmen, journalists, cultural figures and celebrities in Russia and all over the world, and investigates corruption scandals, dodgy multi-billion-dollar deals and contract killings.
'The memoir is written in a wry and humorous manner, focusing on the financial mayhem in Russia in the ‘Wild Nineties’, and the international scams and global corruption which continue to this day. Lebedev sees the present as the age of a Third Colonialism, with the developed world conniving to milk the wealth of the developing world to the tune of $1 trillion a year.
'However, Hunt the Banker: The Confessions of a Russian ex-Oligarch 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 names names along the way, and describes the dirty tricks and the attempt to assassinate him.
'A noisy and 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 in detail how and why he became involved with two prominent UK newspapers.
'Not the least striking contribution to the success of the book is Lebedev’s access to inside sources of information, with policemen and secret policemen slipping him memoirs and transcripts of episodes which would otherwise have remained mysterious. This book is ultimately a portrait of a fraudulent system which is a challenge to justice and the well-being of people, and which Lebedev considers as another little step in the battle against international kleptocracy.'