BRYANSK/TULA, November 26 (RIA Novosti) – Russian banker Alexander Lebedev, sentenced to a 150-hour term of community service penalty for a brawl with another businessman live on TV, has begun serving his punishment by building a children’s playground in a village outside Moscow.
Lebedev was handed down the punishment in July for punching realty developer Sergei Polonsky during the filming of a talk show on the NTV television channel in 2011.
A former KGB officer, Lebedev said earlier that he planned to serve his term in the village of Popovka 250 kilometers (150 miles) outside Moscow, in the Tula region, where he is officially registered.
“Yes, he has got down to work. Right now, with a group of fellows he started installing a children’s playground,” Magrarita Rimar, a spokeswoman for the region’s branch of the penitentiary service told RIA Novosti. “Maybe he bought it himself.”
She said Lebedev is supposed to work as an assistant there for four hours a day.
Lebedev has always claimed he was acting in self-defense when he struck Polonsky “after being provoked.”
Formerly a shareholder in the country’s top airline Aeroflot, and former owner of his own budget airline RedWings, Lebedev owns several British newspapers, including The Independent, and Kremlin-critical Novaya Gazeta newspaper.