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Michael Jones Leader, Cheshire East Council

Cheshire East Council - Shenanigans



An Internet profile of one of the visionaries who will change the face of the Cheshire countryside forever.


Councillor Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council, is a Director of Sanderson Knight properties, according to the Council register of members interests.  An understatement if ever there was one. To do justice to his remarkable personaility this should have read - Michael Jones is not only a Director but is also the sole owner of the company. Furthermore, he is understood to have control of a number of companies offshore in the West Indies.

Michael started his career in a minor way in recruitment - he saw a market gaining momentum in recruitment for major investment banks in the UK and internationally.  This highly profitable activity produced the basis for an expansion into very specialised sectors within the investment banking industry. This continued and only began to fade with the onset of the catastrophic debacle in the banking industry in 2008 and onwards, caused mainly by reckless casino banking.

Michael had by now trasferred his holding (for reasons best known to him) offshore with the one exception - Sanderson Knight Properties Ltd, which is the company mentioned above.  It remains a UK resident. Given Michael's widespread interests here and overseas, he must have a depth of knowledge not usually found in a local authority.  He will be aware of the keen interest nowadays shown by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs  in complex holdings put in place to preserve secrecy and often to reduce taxes.

The Sanderson Knight companies offshore are, it seems, ultimately owned by Mike, in the most cavalier of jurisdictions -
no information - no tax.

Councillor Jones sent me this reply on 19/03/13 at 11.20

"Dear Sheila

Your profile is factually incorrect and I am happy to inform you that I am the most compliant with HMRC. In fact I have paid extensive taxes and always been fully compliant.

It is sad that you need to invent and try to bully me.

Yours


Michael"




Local Authorities do have a duty to call for declarations of interests from its councillors - presumably to protect all parties in the area of business connections, contracts and generally.  Michael will have made this declaration; however, it is not clear whether offshore enterprises owned by councillors fall into the category which a declaration would have to include.

More on this, no doubt, to follow at a later date.

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Councillor Jones, Leader of East Cheshire, is a director of Sanderson Knight Properties.



"Sanderson Knight Properties Ltd was founded on 15 Jan 1997. The organisation's status is active, and they have 12 associated directors - 2 are current, and 10 are former. Michael Edward Jones is the Sanderson Knight Properties Ltd's sole shareholder with a total of 100.00 shares. The company has no known group companies. The business has total assets of £612,804 plus total liabilities of £518,192. As of their last financial statement, they had £8,257 in cash reserves. The company's current book value is £94,612, and the value of their shareholders' fund is £94,612. "



Other companies  that Mr Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council, has been a director of:-



No financial data available, but
red flags against the company.



Red flags

"Sanderson Knight Associates Limited was founded on 08 Aug 1997. The organisation's status is dissolved, and they have 8 associated directors - 1 are current, and 7 are former. The company has no known group companies. The business has total assets of £1,198,343 plus total liabilities of £1,028,198. As of their last financial statement, they had £910 in cash reserves. The company's current book value is £170,145, and the value of their shareholders' fund is £170,145."





Red flags


"Sanderson Knight Global Markets Ltd was founded on 14 Jul 1998. The organisation's status is dissolved, and they have 7 associated directors - 1 are current, and 6 are former. The company has no known group companies. The business has total assets of £379,606 plus total liabilities of £1,839. As of their last financial statement, they had £392 in cash reserves. The company's current book value is £377,767, and the value of their shareholders' fund is £377,767."




Red flags

"Sanderson Knight Consultancy Ltd was founded on 17 Aug 1998. The organisation's status is dissolved, and they have 6 associated directors - 1 are current, and 5 are former. The company has no known group companies. The business has total assets of £622,901 plus total liabilities of £619,382. As of their last financial statement, they had £57 in cash reserves. The company's current book value is £3,519, and the value of their shareholders' fund is £3,519."





Red Flags

"Global Quantitative & Risk Search Ltd was incorporated on 01 Mar 1999. The company's status is dissolved, with one director. They have no known group companies. Global Quantitative & Risk Search Ltd have total assets of £0 plus total liabilities of £40,558. As of their last financial statement, they had £631 in cash reserves. Their book value is £145,420, and the value of their shareholders' fund is £145,420."



Red flags

"Aldrich Collins Limited was incorporated on 01 Jun 1999. The company's status is dissolved, with a team of 2 directors. They have no known group companies."




Red Flags


"Sanderson Knight Limited was founded on 28 Sep 1999. The organisation's status is dissolved, and they have 4 associated directors - 1 are current, and 3 are former. The company has no known group companies. The business has total assets of £298,549 plus total liabilities of £122. As of their last financial statement, they had £881 in cash reserves. The company's current book value is £298,427, and the value of their shareholders' fund is £298,427."



Red Flags

"Last Rest Limited was registered on 04 Jul 2001. The business has a status of dissolved. Their founding director was David Brown, who is British, aged 52. They have no known group companies."





Red Flags

"Sanderson Knight Wilson & Partners Limited was founded on 21 Aug 2001 and has its registered office in London. The organisation's status is dissolved, and they have 4 associated directors - 2 are current, and 2 are former. The company has no known group companies."


Red Flags

"Gqrs Limited was incorporated on 09 May 2003. The company's status is dissolved, with one director. They have no known group companies"




Red Flags

"Global Quants Risk & Structured Finance Limited was incorporated on 04 Jul 2001. The company's status is dissolved, with one director. They have no known group companies. Global Quants Risk & Structured Finance Limited has not reported any financials as it is either too young, or exempt from filing accounts."




Red Flags

"Sanderson Knight Construction Limited was founded on 01 Nov 2005. The organisation's status is dissolved, and they have 2 associated directors - 1 are current, and 1 are former. The company has no known group companies.
"





Red  Flags

"Botolph Services Limited was incorporated on 01 Dec 1993 and is located in Surrey. The company's status is dissolved, with a team of 2 directors. Baltic Services Limited is Botolph Services Limited's sole shareholder. They have no known group companies. Botolph Services Limited have total assets of £0 plus total liabilities of £19,591. Their book value is £3, and the value of their shareholders' fund is £3."



Red Flags

"Capital Law Appointments Limited was incorporated on 01 Jun 1995 and is located in London. The company's status is dissolved, with a team of 2 directors. They have no known group companies. Their book value is £34,901, and the value of their shareholders' fund is £34,901."


Red Flags

"Vwj Limited was set up on 29 May 1992 in Surrey. Their current status is dissolved, and one of their founding directors, Frank Varela, has been the director of 25 other companies. Botolph Services Ltd is the only shareholder of Vwj Limited. The company has no known group companies. The company's current book value is £-32,803, and the value of their shareholders' fund is £-32,803. "



"Mehmet Dalman, head of investment banking and a member of the Vorstand at Commerzbank, has been an active user of headhunters for a decade and there are few better examples of the closeness between headhunters and the bankers they work for.
Dalman, of Turkish-Cypriot origin, has forged extremely close links with one particular headhunter who has worked with him since the early 1990s, hiring hundreds of staff for Dalman during his mercurial rise to the top of Commerzbank and previously while he worked at Crédit Lyonnais and Deutsche Bank.
In 1996 Dalman’s elder brother joined the board of one of the headhunting firms Dalman used widely, and the ownership of this and other firms disappears into a complex web of offshore companies.
Dalman’s preferred headhunter is Mike Jones, a 38-year-old Liverpudlian, who helped recruit hundreds of brokers and bankers for Dalman first when Dalman worked at Crédit Lyonnais in Asia, and subsequently at Deutsche Bank in Tokyo, and then when he built up Commerzbank Securities almost from scratch in 1997 to a staff of around 1,400.
Much of this recruitment in the early and mid-1990s was conducted through a firm called Varela Webbe Jones (which subsequently became VWJ). Another firm set up by Jones in 1997, Sanderson Knight, came to dominate equities recruitment at Commerzbank.
According to a former colleague of Jones, as much as 60% of his recruitment business in the early 1990s was with Crédit Lyonnais. Deutsche was later to account for a large volume of Jones’ work at VWJ. “If Dalman hadn’t been a client at Deutsche, VWJ would have had much less of a business,” said a former employee.
The two men are powerful and charismatic, according to those who know them. In carrying out recruiting assignments, Jones used to amuse himself and colleagues by calling himself “Edward Hunter” (as in ‘edhunter) to preserve secrecy when phoning a potential recruit.
Jones also forged business links with Dalman’s elder brother, Djevtet “Jeff” Shukru (sometimes spelled as Sukru or Shoukru), a businessman-turned-recruitment consultant who lives in a large detached house close to Dalman in Surrey.
Over the past 10 years or so, VWJ and Sanderson Knight have earned many millions in headhunting fees from doing business with Dalman, who has risen rapidly to the top in just 17 years in investment banking. Commerzbank, in its anxiety to build up an investment banking presence, spent over 1bn (€1.4bn) in short order on its securities operation. Much of it went on top salaries and bonuses Dalman offered to new recruits. Some of it went to Jones’ companies.
Jones is evidently a wealthy man, dividing his time between a luxurious flat overlooking St Katharine Docks in the City of London and a five-bedroom, 500,000 villa near Estepona in southern Spain, where he has spent much of his time in the last few years.
How much Jones is worth is hard to ascertain. Virtually every one of the many companies with which he has been associated has opted under company law not to disclose its profits, Jones’ salary or any dividends it has paid its owners. Nearly every company, all sharing a south Londoner of Turkish-Cypriot origin as their accountant, is ultimately owned offshore or overseas.
One group of companies is registered in the Bahamas which does not require such businesses to disclose their owners. A second group of companies trace their origins to Ireland where they have failed to comply with Irish law by not listing their shareholders and have been struck off the Dublin companies’ register as a result.
Dalman, Jones and Commerzbank all declined to comment.
DALMAN’S RAPID RISE
Dalman has risen swiftly from his origins in western Cyprus to head of investment banking at Commerzbank.
He joined Nikko Securities in 1986 aged 28, and made his name selling complex quant products. Dalman took a BA at the University of London through studying at the Roehampton Institute of Higher Education and, in 1981, obtained an MA in history at the London School of Economics.
After three years at Nikko, Dalman and a team of rocket scientists were hired by Crédit Lyonnais, which was impressed by their “black box” product used in forecasting stock market movements. Dalman moved to Deutsche in 1995 and Commerzbank two years later.
His elder brother’s connection with Jones is through a complex chain of companies, both British and offshore. The family connection is not obvious at first. Few in the City who have worked for Dalman and have been recruited by him, and not all those who have worked for Jones, will be aware of the link.
Dalman is not Mehmet Dalman’s given name. He was born 45 years ago near Paphos in Cyprus as Mehmet Shoukru (in Turkish Cypriot tradition taking his father’s first name Shoukru as his own last name). His 56 year-old brother Djevtet has retained the surname, but he also sometimes opts to spell it as Sukru.
Dalman took his British degrees under the name of Shoukru, but seems to use the name rarely these days. He is registered with the Financial Services Authority, the UK market regulator, as Mehmet Shoukru-Dalman, the name he used when buying his Surrey home.
Jones worked in accounting recruitment in his early career where he met Jeremy Webbe. The two men then linked up with Frank Varela, now one of London’s best-known headhunters, who runs the AIM-listed Longbridge Consulting. Varela was already running his own successful firm in Cheapside, in the City of London, specialising in legal recruitment.
Seeing the huge amounts of money to be made in headhunting in banking and broking, Varela joined the two in setting up a new separate business, Varela Webbe Jones, operating from the same premises. They each owned one share. Aided by Jones’ links to Dalman, the business prospered. A five-storey freehold office building near Monument in the City of London was bought for around 1m with a view to expansion.
According to headhunters who worked for the firm, Varela had a spectacular falling out with Jones. Varela quit to concentrate on running Longbridge and transferred his one-third share to his former colleagues just before Christmas 1994.
The business changed its name to VWJ and the remaining owners kept the Botolph Lane office where, in common with many headhunting firms, the single entry buzzer gives no clue to the occupants.
The ultimate ownership of what was now VWJ rapidly disappeared into a complex web of offshore companies. This pattern recurred four years later at Sanderson Knight, the next business run by Jones, making ownership difficult to identify.
According to Altan Kemal, whose firm of chartered certified accountants, Alton & Co, is the common link between the headhunting firms, there is no mystery about the owners. “The ultimate owner of VWJ is Ali Orhan, a Turkish businessman. Mr Orhan has lots of businesses, he’s an international guy.” Citing client confidentiality, Kemal declined to provide contact details for Orhan.
Orhan does not appear in the records of Quest Holdings, an Irish company struck off the Dublin register, which is still shown as the ultimate parent company. Asked about the accuracy of a report and accounts detailing a company no longer registered, Kemal said: “It’s news to me that it has been struck off.”
Kemal, who operates in Streatham, a part of south London far from the milieu of high-flying headhunters and investment bankers, said he met Dalman nearly 15 years ago when he did the accounts for a late brother-in-law of the Commerzbank executive. He declined to comment further on Orhan. Kemal also said there was no mystery about the offshore ownership of Jones’ Sanderson Knight companies. “Mike Jones owns Sanderson Knight and the Bahamas companies are owned by Mike Jones,” said Kemal.
OFFSHORE COMPANIES
Ownership of the various headhunting companies is difficult to track down because many are ultimately owned offshore where they do not have to disclose shareholders or have not done so. According to British company records, 100% ownership of VWJ was transferred to Botolph Services, a company originally set up to manage the firm’s new headquarters, on February 5, 1995, a few weeks after Varela had transferred his one-third interest.
Botolph was just one link in a chain. It in turn was owned by Baltic Services, also incorporated in early 1995. Jeff Sukru joined the board of Baltic in February 1995. Baltic, in turn, was owned by an Irish company called Quest Holdings Ltd, which listed its activities as “security broking”.
During the four years between its incorporation in January 1996 and January 2000, when it was struck off the Irish companies register, Quest never filed accounts or details of its shareholders. Other seemingly connected Irish companies were also to be struck off after failing to disclose ownership.
The only Quest directors ever named were Suziye Shukri, a Turkish woman in her 70s (Dalman and Jeff Sukru’s mother is shown on their birth records as Souzie Djevtet), and Mehmet Ferzan, both sharing an address in Istanbul.
VWJ was transferred to Botolph Services in early 1995. Soon after this Jeff Shoukru arrived and, according to former employees of VWJ, acted in effect as finance director of the headhunting firm. Deutsche recruited Dalman from Crédit Lyonnais in March 1995 and he went on to build up the German bank’s Japanese securities business.
Jones served as a director of Botolph while remaining as a director of VWJ. In March 1996 Webbe resigned and Shoukru joined the boards of VWJ and Botolph. The two men were also directors of Questor Limited, an Irish company formed in early 1996 and struck off, like Quest Holdings, in January 2000.
With one exception, the Sanderson Knight companies were ultimately moved offshore to the Bahamas. The exception was what became Sanderson Knight Properties Ltd in the UK. Originally formed as EPAS Services Ltd as early as 1997, this company was owned by EPAS Investments, an Irish company where Jones’ brother and sister were directors, which again was struck off the Dublin register. In a reverse of the usual pattern, Jones was to take over EPAS Investments in Ireland, thus becoming the owner of Sanderson Knight Properties.
Jones’ main headhunting interest was VWJ until 1997. The recruitment business seems to have prospered handling headhunting assignments for UBS, Morgan Stanley and ABN Amro, as well as Dalman at Deutsche and Crédit Lyonnais. By November 2000 VWJ, a business with just three 1 shares in issue and which employed fewer than 20 young but well-paid recruitment consultants, boasted over 4m in cash, compared with virtually nothing five years earlier. It also owned a valuable freehold in the City. VWJ never disclosed profits, dividends or directors’ fees, so the rise in cash holdings may underestimate the money generated for the owners of the business over the period.
DALMAN’S RECRUITMENT DRIVE
One of the main drivers behind what VWJ earned was Jones’ work for Dalman at Deutsche in Tokyo where an early coup was hiring a complete team from Peregrine Securities in London. Dalman hired Dereck Rock, a policeman-turned-headhunter working for Stephens International, to work in Deutsche’s Tokyo office.
Rock, 41, became Dalman’s right hand man and moved with him to Commerzbank, where he has quickly become global head of equities.
He enjoys the trappings of his success and has owned a Ferrari. He lives in a beautiful 1m Georgian former rectory in Kent on which he is spending more money.
Dalman left Deutsche in April 1997 and started work building an international equities business at Commerzbank a few months later. In September that year, Jones quit as a director of VWJ and set up Sanderson Knight Associates with the express purpose, say former colleagues, of helping Dalman on what was to become an extraordinary hiring spree in his new post.
In the first few months alone at Commerzbank Securities, Dalman and Rock hired over 100 equities staff, many for the Tokyo office which was fully operational before London’s. Sanderson Knight played a dominant role in the next four years in recruiting staff for Commerzbank Securities.
Dalman pleased his German parent as the new securities business generated big profits, notably, according to former executives, in derivatives and in initial public offerings on the then booming German Neuer Markt. Dalman moved steadily upwards, becoming global head of securities in November 1999 and then in November 2001, four years after joining, was promoted to the board of managing directors, Commerzbank’s Vorstand in Frankfurt. For a 43-year-old non-German it was a remarkable coup.
It was also in 1999 that control of Sanderson Knight companies went overseas – either by Jones transferring his shares in the British companies, or by issuing new shares conferring ownership to the offshore companies. On November 1, Jones transferred his shares in Sanderson Knight Associates to Sanderson Knight International, a company which had been registered in the Bahamas just five weeks earlier.
Jones formed three other Sanderson Knight companies – all sharing Altan Kemal’s firm in south London as their accountant – in the next few years, and opened a Sanderson Knight office in Frankfurt in 1999.
Control of many of the newer companies also moved to Sanderson Knight in the Bahamas on November 1, 1999. Such Bahamian businesses do not have to list their owners, only their officers and directors. Sanderson Knight International’s directors were Jones and a corporate director, CCS Directors Ltd. That was based in the even more anonymous tax haven of the British Virgin Islands.
Neither VWJ nor Sanderson Knight appear particularly active now, but that, of course, is true of much of the headhunting industry in the current investment banking desert.
As for the British companies, as a result of their opting for the small companies exemption allowed under the Companies Act, it is impossible to assess their profitability over the four years they dominated the hiring of equities staff at Commerzbank – or how much might have been paid out in dividends to their owners.
Commerzbank would not comment on how much Dalman and Rock awarded Jones’ headhunting firm in fees. If the securities business hired just 250 staff through Jones at an average fee of 25,000 per recruit, the fees would exceed 5m. Some observers estimate that amount of money was far higher.
METEORIC CAREER WHICH LED TO THE TOP
Mehmet Dalman was born in western Cyprus on April 7, 1958, the son of Shoukru Ali and Souzie Djevtet. His brother Djevtet Ali is 12 years older. Both are British citizens living in Surrey.
Dalman took an MA at the London School of Economics in 1981 under the name of Mehmet Shoukru. He joined the investment banking industry four years later at Nikko.
After Nikko, he worked for Crédit Lyonnais and Deutsche Bank in Japan, before joining Commerzbank in 1997.
His career has been meteoric, taking him to the top of Commerzbank at the age of 43. Now 45, he is the board member responsible for the German bank’s investment banking business.
At each firm he has overseen a significant increase in headcount, hiring hundreds of staff in all.
Since joining Commerzbank he has effectively built an international securities business from scratch, spending millions on highly rated analysts, traders and bankers.
What is less clear is how much money this investment has made for Commerzbank, whose securities business has been hit hard by the downturn in capital markets. In 2002 Commerzbank Securities made a loss of €348m ($395m) out of a group loss of €372m. In the first quarter of this year, the division returned to profit after three quarters of losses.
Dalman, married with two children, divides his time between Frankfurt and London and is an avid fan of Manchester United.
THE WEALTHY HEADHUNTER
Mike Jones is the younger son of a Welsh railway signalman and has become a successful and wealthy financial markets headhunter.
In the early 1990s, Jones was working in accountancy recruitment when he spotted the huge potential in financial markets headhunting as the investment banking boom gathered pace. He linked up with Jeremy Webbe and Frank Varela, who now runs Longbridge Consulting, to launch Varela Webbe Jones which subsequently became VWJ. Within the industry Jones gained a reputation for hiring young staff in their 20s, working them hard and rewarding them well.
Mehmet Dalman was one of Jones’ closest clients, and VWJ worked extensively for Dalman in Asia when he was at Crédit Lyonnais and subsequently at Deutsche Bank in Tokyo.
In September 1997, shortly after Dalman joined Commerzbank, Jones resigned as a director of VWJ and set up a new firm called Sanderson Knight Associates, which has worked extensively for Commerzbank Securities.
He divides his time between a luxury flat in St Katharine Docks in the City of London and a large villa near Estepona in southern Spain, where he is understood to have spent much of his time in the past few years.
He is a keen fan of Everton football club"


 
 



"ENRC – which faced considerable criticism over a 2010 deal to buy assets in the Democratic Republic of Congo that had previously been confiscated by the government from rival First Quantum – is conducting a strategic review of its assets and investigating allegations of corruption in Kazakhstan and Africa, the results of which are being shared with the UK’s Serious Fraud Office."



Some observations pending publication of project failure reports
April 2013

Jones - Leader Cheshire East Council

His trail is hard to follow.
He has been with the Council, it seems, since the bad decisions were concluded but was he in the know?  The same cavalier attitues have continued under his reign- continued refusal to make critical reports public.

Recruitment of a Chief Executive - was Jones involved - after all high level recruitment was/is his game - internationally and domestic.

Various high ranking officials have been fired following project failures - but where do the councillors stand in all this? Surely the guilty among them should stand down as well.  Councillors declarations of interests are toothless. They hardly touch the surface.

His tax status is still unclear, despite his outbursts/protestations. All his companies bar one had their control apparently transferred to the West Indies. The exception was "properties".  He has left behind a series of abandoned companies, bankrupt, reorganised and his empty chair. Why is he a Cheshire East Council?  I could hazard a guess. Whose payroll is his on?  Is "properties" still on its feet and what is it doing and with whom?

Further study of the man when the various costly project reports are made public is needed.

Is the Jones motto, in the event that too much pressure for explanations is getting to him, draw a line and move on? If only we could all do that.

Lyme Green debacle

The costly report - to be revealed at last on the catastrophe at Lyme Green (£800,000).  No planning permission, no proper "tendering" - all in breach of EU and Council requirements. Dismissals and resignations of high officials - not councillors!


The Bewilderwood development going ahead, it seems, at Tatton Parks including risking £5 million loan and costs of advice to help a developer of a theme park who can't rais the money for undisclosed reasons.  "Walk in" rights in the event of failure hardly seem adequate for the risk taken by Cheshire East Council.

Councillor Michael Jones was around but not the whole time but is his mark on all of this?  He wants to "draw a line and move on".  I bet he does!

 
 

Email received 3rd June 2013 at 11.17

Dear Ms Oliver

Regarding your request for a copy of this agreement, I have spoken to my colleagues in the Compliance team, and have been advised that there is no written agreement that we can supply.

Because of the nature of this issue, and other similar requests to yours, Mrs Raine – who has now retired – made a verbal agreement over the phone with the ICO, that requests for an Internal Review regarding this report could go directly to them. As we’ve previously advised, since the letter you received has come directly from the Chief Executive, there is no-one higher to conduct such a review within Cheshire East, so the ICO will be conducting this process themselves.

If you contact them accordingly, they will advise you what they are going to be doing, and will also let us know that you have made contact.
I hope this explains the situation for you.
Yours sincerely
Martin Johnson
Customer Relations & Compliance
Cheshire East Council
Westfields
Sandbach




The accounts of Cllr Michael Jones of East Cheshire  Council's ONSHORE company.


Councillor Michael Jones' register of interests at Cheshire East Council.



Company check information on Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council.


I assume Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council is involved with this company.  If this is not the case, I would welcome the opportunity to correct this posting.

 
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