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Photo of Cliff Stanford
12 October 1954 |
Cliff Stanford, an accountant from Southend-on-Sea, was a co-founder of Demon Internet, the first Internet Service Provider in the United Kingdom for individual subscribers. Stanford had spotted what he thought was a real business opportunity to profit from the incipient demand for access to the Internet and started Demon with a capital of just £20,000.
Following the sale of Demon Internet to Scottish Telecom in 1998 for £66m, he founded Redbus Investments, a venture capital firm involved in film production and a variety of other ventures. Redbus Investments provided seed capital for a number of investments including Redbus Interhouse and Redbus Film Distribution. After a boardroom fall-out at Redbus Interhouse, he resigned in June 2002.
In 2003, whilst attempting to gather information about possible wrongdoings by the board of Redbus Interhouse, Stanford discovered and exposed more than £34m of assets of Dame Shirley Porter This resulted directly in her repaying £12m to Westminster Council.
In September 2005 he was convicted under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 of intercepting emails belonging to John Porter, son of Dame Shirley and then chairman of Redbus. Despite pleading guilty, Stanford claimed that what he had done was legal as "someone on the inside ... put in a redirect". He was given a suspended sentence, ordered to pay a fine of £20,000 and, in a later hearing, was denied leave to appeal.
He later was Managing Director of a telecoms venture called Ifonic PLC.
Stanford is a chess enthusiast who sponsored a REDBUS knockout Grandmaster chess event each Easter in Southend since 1999. Following the death of his uncle, Jack Speigel, who had for many years organised the entire annual Southend Easter chess congress, Stanford inaugurated an annual Jack Speigel Memorial Invitational Tournament, also at Easter and in Southend. The first Redbus event and the first Speigel Memorial event were each won buy James Plaskett.
- 15 January 1996 (15 January 1996). "Even a millionaire has his demons". The Independent. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
- Everett 2005.
- Telegraph 2005a.
- BBC News: Porter pays £12m to Westminster
- silicon.com Demon founder pleads guilty to email snooping
- silicon.com Cliff Stanford to appeal email snoop verdict
- Smith 2005.
- Company No. 03772954. "Companies House - IFONIC PLC". Companies House. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
- Amy Vickers (19 December 2000). "Demon founder laughs off 'stripper' reports in Sunday newspaper". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 March 2016.