Billionaire Punch-Up: Alexander Lebedev Attacks Fellow Oligarch on Russian Television

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It may be time to spend some of that money on an anger management class.

Alexander Lebedev, a former KGB operative and the owner of two of Britain’s leading newspapers, clobbered property developer Sergei Polonsky in the face twice during a panel discussion on the financial crisis. The preview clip, aired by Russian station NTV ahead of the show’s broadcast Sunday evening, shows Polonsky saying he sometimes “feels like bashing” Lebedev. That apparently provoked Lebedev to land the blows, which knocked Polonsky out of his chair and off the studio’s elevated platform.

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“He said he wanted to punch someone’s lights out. I asked if he was referring to me,” Lebedev wrote on his blog after the clip was released. “He aggressively said he was and made a certain movement in my direction. You have no choice in a critical situation. I see no reason to be hit first, so I freshened him up a little.”

Polonsky has since complained that he sustained a wrist injury during the incident and complained that his jeans were ripped. But Lebedev, who has an estimated fortune of $3.1 billion according to Forbes, isn’t about to say he’s sorry. “Now, he’s showing his ripped pants, and it is hard to say anything about that,” Lebedev wrote. “He was hit in the face and he’s showing off a hole in the backside of his trousers. Strange.”

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William Lee Adams is a staff writer at the London bureau of TIME. Find him on Twitter at @willyleeadams or on Facebook. You can also continue the discussion on TIME‘s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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