The Evening Standard editor Geordie Greig also is understood to have denied it. The news reported by the Guardian was a "fanciful, concocted piece," he said.
Sawiris said he did not know that the Independent titles were put up for sale and that he heard about his involvement in buying them only from the Guardian. "If I had that much spare money, I would use it to buy a boat, not a newspaper," he quipped.
Sawiris had previously met Lebedev to discuss about the purchase of wooden pre-fab housing units and him supplying the units for the Russian tycoon.
Lebedev is negotiating with Independent News & Media (INM) over the sale of the two titles. The period of exclusivity will end on 15 February.