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Who owns the JEP?

Like it or not, the Jersey Evening Post (JEP) is a dominant force in Jersey, not only in terms of viewers and media influence, but socially. How many times have you heard somebody saying (or yourself saying) “I read in the JEP…”? Through selecting, or shaping, certain news stories and content over others, the JEP has a way of affecting a large number of social interactions on the island, more importantly, it has by action or omission shaped political views. A large amount of talk has revolved around local news coming from that exact publication.

Regardless of your view of it, the JEP is a big deal over here in many ways, which is unlikely to alter in the immediate future. However, there is a contradicting force emerging through social media, as has been demonstrated by the recent English general election. Locally certain bloggers are now regarded as being considerably more authoritative on a number of topics. That being said, there is a lot about the JEP behind the scenes which most of the island are unaware of.

Firstly, it is owned by a complex corporate structure which resides in Wolverhampton and elsewhere. The JEP paper is represented in company form by Jersey Evening Post Ltd (Jersey company, company number: 27855) (Appendix 1). On paper this is still owned primarily as to (9997 of 1000 shares) by Guiton Publishing Ltd (Jersey company, Company number: 77516) (Appendix 2). It is important to note at this stage that Guiton Publishing Ltd is entirely owned by The Guiton Group Ltd (Jersey Company, Company Number 770) (Appendix 2). Jersey companies do not need to publicly list their directors. The Guiton Group were the previous owners, but a change in ownership occurred in 2004 when The Guiton Group, still in ownership of the JEP, was taken over by Claverly Holdings Limited (UK company: Company number: 08114933) (Appendix 3) is now listed as the owner of The Guiton Group Ltd.

Claverly Holdings Limited is where we find some people, as it has the following nine shareholders:

  • Executors of Malcolm Gray Douglas Graham
  • Formentor Holdings Ltd
  • Paul Stryker Meier
  • Simon Brown
  • E. Alan Graham Ltd
  • Modest Ventures Ltd
  • Invicta Ltd
  • Angela Barbara Graham
  • Virtus Trust Ltd

There are ten directors, all of whom give English addresses, however, John Clark Averty is clearly a Jersey resident.

Of the nine shareholders, four are people and the rest are corporate entities themselves. Digging deeper into the companies there is the following information:

  • Formentor Holdings Ltd (UK Company Number – CT208850) (Cayman Company Number – FC029459) (Appendix 4): Whilst the shareholder is listed as ‘Formentor Limited’, the only reference to a Formentor-named company is Formentor Holdings Limited. It is a Cayman Islands Company with a presence in the United Kingdom. Both of which closed on the 10th May 2013. Until closure there was a Secretary by the name of Codan Trust Company (Cayman) Limited. There were also two directors: Geoffrey Broomhead and Simon Haworth. True ownership is therefore not publicly available.
  • Modest Ventures Limited (Appendix 5) – A Bahamian Company listed on the Panama Papers website. Incorporated in the Bahamas on the 27th August 2002, stuck off on the 1st January 2010.
  • E. Alan Graham Ltd (Company Number – 875070729) (Appendix 6) – Registered in the Bahamas in 1992. Is an intermediary of New World Trustees Company Limited and resides at their address: P.O. BOX N-4465, NASSAU
  • Virtus Trust Ltd (Company Number - 44024) (Appendix 7) – Guernsey company, registered on the 6th December 2005. Address listed as PO BOX 634 Bordeaux Court Les Echelons St Peter Port Guernsey GSY 3DR. Guernsey companies do not list their shareholders. Virtus Trust Ltd is the registered agent of Invicta Ltd.
  • Invicta Ltd (Company Number – 56687) (Appendix 8) – Guernsey company, registered on the 22nd May 2013. Address: Frances House Sir William Place St Peter Port Guernsey GY11GX. Guernsey companies do not list their shareholders.

Checks of Formentor Holdings Ltd and Modest Ventures limited show that they have been struck off. This renders the ownership 55.38% of the Ordinary shares, 2.5% of the voting shares and 43.70% of the Preference shares seemingly non-existent. This raises serious question marks. Firstly, there’s a large likelihood that this is not true anymore, meaning that the current shareholders are active but not listed. Secondly, if this is not true, why have the companies remained shareholders on paper? Additionally, the offshore companies are opaque.

What’s also striking is that the majority of the shareholders information of these companies isn’t readily available on Companies House or elsewhere. This lack of transparency can be considered troubling, particularly when it relates to media companies who have a large public presence and influence.

Directors of Claverly Holdings Limited

The listed directors of Claverly Holdings Limited as at 1st August 2017, are:

  • Robert Maurice Cross
  • John Clark Averty
  • Charles David Brims
  • Graham William Evers
  • Edward Alexander Graham
  • Eric Alan Graham
  • Thomas William Graham
  • Phillip Anthony Inman
  • Paul Stryker Meier
  • David George Fossett Thompson
  • Peter Brian Woodman

Shareholdings of Claverly Holdings Limited

Ordinary shares:

  • Malcolm Gray Douglas Graham: 12.26%
  • Formentor Holdings Limited: 2.5%*
  • Paul Meier: 1.43%
  • Paul Meier/Simon Brown: 5.37%
  • Angela Graham: 4.24%
  • Virtus Trust Ltd/Invicta Ltd: 21.32%
  • Modest Ventures: 52.88%*

Voting shares:

  • Malcolm Gray Douglas Graham: 18.31%
  • Formentor Holdings Limited: 2.5%*
  • Alan Graham Ltd: 61.41%
  • Virtus Trust Ltd/Invicta Ltd: 16.55%

Preference shares:

  • Malcolm Gray Douglas Graham: 14.16%
  • Formentor Holdings Limited: 2.50%*
  • Paul Meier: 2.54%
  • Paul Meier/Simon Brown: 14.75%
  • Virtus Trust Ltd/Invicta Ltd: 11.33%
  • Modest Ventures Ltd: 41.12%*

*Struck off

The Jersey Evening Post has, in the minds of many, improved considerably under the present Editor, Andy Sibcy. It is now seen less as the local equivalent of Pravda. It will, however, take many years before many residents forgive, let alone forget, its bizarre coverage of events at Haut de la Garenne and elsewhere.

A less opaque holding structure and a Board of trusted local directors derived from a cross section of the community would go some way to improving public confidence. Whatever happens we will remain with a small regional paper reporting on what are, in effect, national issues, reporting on what has happened will remain a struggle, reporting on why things happen is harder still as it takes high calibre analysis of the type rarely seen even in national newspapers.

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