Evgeny Lebedev, the Russian chairman of the London Evening Standard and The Independent newspapers has spoken of his “surprise” after his father Alexander attacked a fellow guest on a TV show.
Lebedev senior hit the headlines after being provoked into a reaction on a Russian chat show.
He now faces charges for the attack, but his son said: “He’s certainly not a hooligan, but I was surprised because it’s not like him. He is someone who is very mild tempered,” Evgeny told BBC Today programme.
In a rare interview Lebedev, 32, was questioned by Simon Jack about the future of the British newspaper industry and his family’s purchase of the Evening Standard.
“It was a really interesting opportunity which has come up to own a very iconic London title and to try and rebuild the business which I believe we’ve done.
“I wouldn’t say it’s the future for all newspapers, but I think in our day and age when printed journalism is having difficult times and we’ve got to be very imaginative about what we do with our business strategy and its really worked for the Evening Standard,” he said.
Lebedev. who also has businesses interests in Japanese Restaurant Sake no Hana denied being a “oligarch” - a word which is associated with dubiously acquired Russian wealth.
“I don’t really fall into that category. I’ve grown up mostly in this country. Oligarchs are people considered who have obtained their funds, their money illegally.
“Lebedev family has earned money lawfully and we certainly didn’t participate in the unlawful redistribution of Russian national wealth.
He added: “I don’t hang out with other oligarchs, I don’t fear for my life and I have quite a normal simple life.”
Finally, on the return of Vladimir Putin he said: “To the outside world it doesn’t look democratic, it doesn’t look mature and it looks like it has sort of been pre-arranged and pre-agreed behind closed doors, but the danger we fall into in the west is that we compare everything by our own standards and the way things are done in say the UK or France.
"The problem with that is there’s a completely different history and tradition."