Let’s blame the economic crisis on ‘Forbes’

Forget about the sub-prime mortgage meltdown and Wall Street greed. The real cause of  global economic turmoil? Underpaid journalists and the capitalist tool they wield at Forbes. That's the view of Russian tycoon Alexander Lebedev, who is suing the magazine for reporting that he lost $2.5 billion in the current financial crisis. "I am positive that Forbes magazine, which has repeatedly posted wrong information about me and some others, must be held responsible for the world financial and economic crisis," he says. "The magazine had been inflating the false bubble of billionaires for too long. The bubble blew up and struck a blow to the finance and economy of many developed countries." OK then, the former KGB officer may have found one way to make money in these dismal times: He is demanding "compensation of material and moral damage caused by this defamation." Lebedev appears to be in good company. Forbes estimates that Russia has lost two-thirds of its billionaires, with oligarch-heavy Moscow being replaced by New York as the city with the world's most billionaires. (What Wall Street meltdown?!) Lebedev is no stranger to the cause of free speech. In January, he bought London's loss-making Evening Standard for a whopping £1. He now owns a 75 percent stake in the publication and wants to add politicos like Mikhail Gorbachev and Tony Blair to its editorial board. He also owns a 39 percent stake in Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta.

—Posted by Noreen O'Leary