Russian tycoon wants to re-launch Murdoch’s News of the World

Russian banker and media tycoon Aleksandr Lebedev says he would like to remake Rupert Murdoch’s defunct News of the World if he is able to sell some of his assets, according to reports.

Lebedev, the owner of the London Evening Standard newspaper, wants to remake the News of the World under a different brand, the businessman told Bloomberg. He suggested “World News” as a new name.

“I wish, but I don’t think my pocket is deep enough at the moment, but if I’m able to sell any of my businesses, be it Aeroflot or banking, then I’m really very much interested,” according to reports Lebedev said in an interview in his office in Moscow.

A former KGB officer who worked at the Soviet Embassy in London during the Cold War, Lebedev is one of the world's richest people, with a fortune valued by Forbes magazine at $2.1 billion. He owns stakes in Russia’s Aeroflot airline and in banking, construction, property, agriculture and media companies.

Lebedev has said he would use a remade version of the newspaper to raise interest in stories about corruption and crimes committed by rich and powerful people.

“I will be focusing not on interfering with a killed girl, phone hacking, but would need the journalists to really investigate – and during investigations, you have to observe the laws,” the businessman said.

However, Lebedev’s spokesperson did not confirm the reports.

Rupert Murdoch was forced to close News of the World and abandon a bid for British BSkyB amid the ongoing phone-hacking scandal. Journalists working for his publications have been accused of hacking the phones of celebrities, politicians and others, including a missing schoolgirl who was later found murdered.