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Founding shareholder of independent weekly jailed for nine years

Al-TalalA founding shareholder of an independent weekly newspaper has been jailed for nine years over drugs and money laundering offences.

Erfan Felix Al-Talal, who invested in the Pembrokeshire Herald when it launched in 2013, has received the sentence after police officers found a kilogram of cocaine and cutting agents, along with over £30,000 in cash and valuable assets, during a raid at a property in Swansea last month.

Al-Talal, pictured, previously owned £50,000 worth of shares in Herald Newspapers plc, although the company says all of these were sold in December last year.

He admitted possession of Class A drugs with intent to supply and money laundering at Swansea Crown Court last week.

Detective constable Andrew Dabinette, from regional organised crime unit Tarian, said: “Such was the strength of the evidence gathered as the result of this warrant Al-Talal had no option but to enter a guilty plea.

“We will continue to target those people who cause the most harm to the communities within our regions.

“We will relentlessly pursue offenders, using a range of skills, to ensure that the people who wish to blight our communities with harmful controlled drugs are brought before the courts.”

In a statement published on the Herald’s website following Al-Talal’s sentencing, a spokesman said he was “one of several shareholders” who put in money to start the Pembrokeshire Herald in 2013.

The spokesman added: “His shareholding was 50pc, until company reorganisation on 1 January 2016 when it was reduced to 33pc. Felix Al-Talal sold his shares in December 2017 and is no longer associated with the company.

“His investment has long since been repaid to him. Mr Al Talal then set up a double glazing firm called J&F Double Glazing (Factory) Limited.

“That firm is located at Unit 4a Players Industrial Estate, Clydach, Swansea, United Kingdom, SA6 5BQ. There is no link to The Herald.”

Editor Thomas Sinclair said: “I met Mr Al-Talal for the first time in March 2013. He was introduced as a potential investor by a third party. Following several meetings he agreed to invest into the newspaper.

“He was very professional at all times, and there was nothing to suggest that something like this could happen in the future.

“As a shareholder he had no influence on editorial content of the newspaper, but did make visits to the Milford Haven office on a handful of occasions.”


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  • October 2, 2018 at 9:28 am

    Sadly the news media industry has never been immune from villainy or the villainous. Fortunately the good still vastly outnumber the bad.

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  • October 2, 2018 at 5:43 pm

    Thomas Sinclair has had a lot of bad luck as editor of the Pembrokeshire Herald.

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