Jordan and Gusinski enraged by Lesin

Yesterday, after his appearance in the State Duma, Press Minister Mikhail Lesin said to journalists about a new bargain with NTV stocks, what caused stir in mass media. According to Lesin, 30 percent of the TV company’s stocks are being bought (or are intended to be bought) by director general of Gazprom-Media company Boris Jordan and by “a Russian banker.” The Press Ministry, as if by the way the minister noticed, does not intend to interfere in the process of replacement of the TV channel’s owner (because it supports the promptest settlement of all political troubles of Russian mass media). Answering perplexed questions of journalists, Lesin added he would not state it if he was not sure of it. “I do not suppose it is bad or good, though the things are in progress,” – he said. Vladimir Gusinski, whose stocks are said to be bought, immediately refuted this statement. In his interview to NTV company, he said that “information spread by the press minister, does not correspond with reality. It is a pity that people are being misled.” According to Gusinski, Lesin presents the facts as he would like to see them: neither he, nor his partners know anything about the supposed sale of a part of media-assets to Mr Jordan and to the mysterious Russian banker. After Gusinski, Boris Jordan himself refuted Lesin’s statement. In the meanwhile, Lesin’s aim hardly was just to “mislead people,” as Gusinski supposes. Against the background of the stir around closing TV-6 channel, where Lesin was attacked first of all, the new public scandal is not profitable for the Ministry. There is some truth in Lesin’s words, without question. Apropos, it is well known that earlier Jordan many times attracted public attention, while saying about his interest in NTV stocks. Remember, in last October, in his interview for Izvestia newspaper he noticed that he would participate in buying the TV company’s stocks, though it depended on the condition: “I do not keep back my interest in NTV company, though I cannot answer till Gazprom company determines the price and what namely it sells. Now, probably, Gazprom company has already determined the price, what became known to Lesin. Though the bargain seems not to be completed. While the magnates do not intend to lay their cards on the table. And who is that Russian banker mentioned by the press minister? Probably the head of Mezhprombank Sergei Pugachev? Or the head of Alfa-Bank Mikhail Friedman? Or probably that is Boris Jordan’s brother, Nicolas, the head of London office of Deutsche Bank? All of them anyway hinted at their wish to have share holding of the TV company. And first of all, Sergei Pugachev. According to Polit.Ru information channel, “Lesin belongs to Voloshin’s group which of course does not want this TV channel to be passed on to Mezhprombank and to become a powerful information weapon in hands of St Petersburg group.” In other words, the question is that in the Kremlin the fight for the most influential TV channel becomes aggravated. While Gusingski’s position (if he really does not want his shares to be bought by Jordan and K.) is now not of such a great importance. At least Berezovski also was against closing TV-6 channel…

Sergei Yugov PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Vera Solovieva

NTV photograph: Press minister Mikhail Lesin

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