A Russian billionaire who was reported to be keen in investing in Air Botswana appears to have abandoned the idea. Alexander Lebedev an ex-KGB spy has not communicated with the Botswana government ever since it was announced that he is interested in the national carrier.
Last August, the Ministry of Works and Transport announced that the billionaire was interested in buying a stake in Air Botswana. But so far, he is yet to pitch up for talks with the government.
The Ministry of Works and Transport spokesman, Samuel Mbaiwa who broke the news in August with a sense of optimism sounded more pessimistic yesterday about the investor. "That man never pitched up. He has not communicated. We invited him so we can ask him questions about his interest. We cannot for sure say when he is coming or not, but up to now he has not pitched up," Mbaiwa, now an under secretary in the Ministry told Mmegi.
Lebedev is a former president of National Reserve Bank, one of Russia's most prominent financial institutions. His real wealth comes from his investments, reckoned
In addition to sizeable holdings in Unified Energy Systems and Gazprom, Lebedev has a 31% stake in Aeroflot and has announced plans to launch Russia's first 'no frills' airline.
The 48-year-old mogul is a son of a professor of engineering. He trained as an economist at the prestigious Moscow State Institute for International Relations, becoming an expert in foreign debt and the emerging market economies of the Soviet bloc.
An article in Money Week says Lebedev worked in London in the 1980s, ostensibly as an economic attaché and covertly as a spy. He is seen as one of the right hand men of Russian strongman, Vladimir Putin, a former spy chief. His ranking in the world's richest list has been declining since 2006.