A sizeable share of the Independent has been bought by a Saudi businessman – and no one seems to have noticed
When Andreas Whittam Smith, Matthew Symonds and I founded the Independent newspaper 31 years ago, none of us could have imagined that its second-largest shareholder would one day be a Saudi businessman. In those days, our bêtes noires were recognisable proprietors, most notably Rupert Murdoch and Robert Maxwell – the latter of whom covertly acquired five per cent of the paper, to our great dismay. The idea that our precious baby might end up being sustained by an unknown man from one of the most repressive regimes in the world would have seemed utterly fantastical. But this is what has happened. A 42-year-old Saudi by the name of Sultan Muhammad Abuljadayel has acquired some 30 per cent of the Independent website (the print edition was closed last year, and the i newspaper flogged to Johnston Press). The Russian-born Evgeny Lebedev, who was the controlling shareholder, now owns 41 per cent...
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