Mystery over ‘secret’ beneficial owner of popular London newspaper in Cayman
01 Feb 2019

An MP on a parliamentary media committee has reportedly called for transparency about the ownership of the London Evening Standard following a report that the newspaper’s main owners are refusing to reveal the identity of a new stakeholder.

According to the Financial Times, the paper’s Russian owner Evgeny Lebedev sold a stake in December, but is reluctant to reveal the identity behind the £14m investment.

The investor’s identity is concealed behind a Cayman Islands firm, said the FT, which explained that it had made several requests to Lebedev and his firm but representatives declined to state the beneficial owner’s identity.

Evgeny is the son of businessman Alexander Lebedev, who is a former Russian KGB officer.

“The Standard is the most influential newspaper in Britain’s capital and it has become more overtly political under its new editor. All the more reason, therefore, to have honesty about its ownership,” said Paul Farrelly MP, quoted in the FT.

There are suggestions the mystery shareholder could be a national of Saudi Arabia, which has made headlines over the gruesome murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

KYC360’s efforts to obtain a comment directly from Evgeny and Lebedev Holdings were unsuccessful.

The Evening Standard referred all queries to a public relations firm which sent a comment, attributable to an ESI spokesperson, saying: ‘Lebedev Holdings Limited is a private holding company and as such we never comment publicly on our individual shareholders. We have no further comment to make in this matter.’

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