Lebedev’s lifetime peerage was conferred by Queen Elizabeth II on Friday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office said.
Lebedev, 40, who has both Russian and British citizenship, owns newspapers The Independent and The Evening Standard along with television channel London Live. His father, former KGB spy and oligarch Alexander Lebedev, is part owner of the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta.
In 2019, it was reported that Lebedev sold a 30% stake in the Independent and Evening Standard to a Saudi investor. Communications regulator Ofcom and the UK's Competition and Markets authority both ruled against looking into the outlets' editorial independence following the sale.
Ofcom judged that the sale to Sultan Mohamed Abuljadayel, who the British government believed had “strong links” to Riyadh, had not led to “any influence” on the news outlets controlled by the Russian-British businessman.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, then foreign secretary, had reportedly attended a party at Lebedev's villa in Italy in 2018 – his fourth visit to Lebedev’s Italian home at that point in time. Johnson also attended Lebedev's 60th birthday party the day after winning December’s general election.
The appointment comes on the heels of Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee report on Russian interference in the British democracy, specifically the 2016 Brexit referendum.