Cymrophobia 2: The ‘Reverse Midas’

As I mentioned in the previous post, Jacques Protic has been involved in a number of business ventures. Nothing strange about that. What is strange is that these excursions into the world of commerce all seem to have ended in failure. From my research, and information received from contributors (and thank you all), I believe I am now in a position to list these ventures, in chronological order.

Before that, let’s look into the man’s background. He is a UK citizen born in 1945. There is a question over where he was born. According to ‘Brychan’ Protic speaks perfect English with a “twang of Wirral” and poor Serbian with a somewhat old-fashioned, perhaps even posh, accent. One possibility must be that his parents were Serb nationalists who left Jugoslavia towards the end of WWII. Because once it became clear that post-war Jugoslavia was to be communist or socialist, many Orthodox, royalist Serbs packed their bags, especially if they could in any way be linked with those ChetniksChetniks accused of collaborating with the Italian and German occupiers; worse perhaps was that many Chetniks had even fought against Tito’s Partisans. Though that said, if Protic did attend Belgrade High School, as he claims, would a son of Chetnik sympathisers be allowed back into Jugoslavia in, presumably, the early 1960s? Background information would be nice but it’s the Jacques Protic of Menai Bridge that we’re really interested in.

Incidentally, the term Chetnik was revived during the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s; used by their enemies to describe any Serb in uniform or, more specifically, Serb irregular units. Nowadays the term seems confined to the extreme Right in Serbia and other areas. (See picture.) The distinctive Serbian cap is called a ‘sajkaca’.

While there have been many business ventures, it’s only fair to point out that during most of the period covered by these dips into the world of capitalism Protic had the sense to hang on to his ‘day job’. This was as UK agent for the German company Weiss Technik, makers of laboratory and medical equipment, from June 1990 to December 2006. Weiss Technik has a factory in Ebbw Vale, “England”.

I can’t help noticing that apart from a vague reference to ‘Belgrade High School’ and his diploma from Salford University, there is no information on Protic prior to 1990, which of course coincides with the beginning of the break-up of Jugoslavia and the subsequent fighting. Almost as if he had lain asleep and then, in 1990, when he was 45 years of age, someone pressed a button and he sprang into life. What was he doing before 1990? I can understand the Balkan wars energising someone of his background, but there’s no obvious connection between his business ventures and what was happening back home. So is it just coincidence? Whatever the reasons for his foray into entrepreneurialism, here is the list of the companies of which he has been a director, with the date of formation and the date when each company ceased to exist. I cannot promise that the list is complete.

  1. Environmental Engineering Systems Ltd 16 October, 1991 – Final Dissolution 31 March, 1998. Protic served as Director throughout the life of the company and also Company Secretary from 01 October, 1993 to 24 May, 2007. Trading address in Manchester.
  2. Ees Ultracare Ltd 04 June, 1992 – Final Dissolution 26 November, 1996. Protic served as Director and “Technologist”. No address found. Ees = Environmental Engineering Systems?
  3. Q Medical Science Ltd 25 January, 1996 – Final Dissolution 21 December 2004. Protic served as Director. Registered address and trading address at PKF in Manchester.
  4. Q-Med Plasma Technolgy Ltd 15 March 1996 – Dormant. Name changed 20 July, 1999 from EES International Ltd. Protic is Director. Based in Kingston Upon Thames.
  5. Q Plasma Technologies Ltd / Q Plasma Technologies (Holdings) Ltd 09 November 2001 (both) – 17 January 2006 (both). Protic served as Managing Director of both. Based in Liverpool. What does the ‘Q’ stand for?
  6. Solid Solution Ltd 08 July, 2002 – Final Dissolution 15 November 2011. Protic served as Company Secretary from 18 December, 2006 to 24 May, 2007. Registered address and trading address in Liverpool.
  7. Ebsol Ltd 08 January, 2008 – Final Dissolution and Striking Off 15 March, 2011. Bit of a mystery this one. Based in same address (more likely, ‘letter-box’) in Kingston Upon Thames as Q-Med Plasma Technology, but also with a ghostly presence in Llangefni. Change of name 22 April, 2008 from Ebuild Services Ltd. No accounts were ever filed. The only other person involved with this company, Gareth Iwan Whalley, now works for the DVLA in Swansea.

So, what have we got here? The companies Protic has been involved with (with two exceptions) seem to be in the same line of business as his employer, Weiss Technik; that is, laboratory and medical equipment. The first exception is Solid Solutions Ltd, which dealt in fruit and vegetable juice(!); and Ebsol which, as the name might suggest, was doing something with solar panels, but with no great success.

The most interesting of his ventures was Q Plasma Technolgies, registered at John Moores University in Liverpool. It seems to have been formed to promote an invention that was submitted by Jacques Protic for a US Patent, using a specialist law firm based just outside Washington DC. This would not have been cheap, but fortunately funding was obtained in the form of debentures from HSBC and, more importantly, I’m told, a grant, or loan, from the Merseyside Special Investment Fund. This is EU funding much like the funding large parts of Wales receives. But, true to form, this venture also went belly-up. Proving yet again that Jacques Protic has the ‘Reverse Midas’.

Given that the companies Protic started up were capitalising on technological expertise and other things – such as potential customers – that he might have gained as the UK agent for Weiss Tecknik, was this strictly kosher? And why, given his contacts on the continent, did he apply for a US patent with Q Plasma Technologies rather than an EU patent? Then again, a more innocent interpretation might be that this was his field after all . . . even though he has no academic qualifications.

Bryn DuWhen he applied for the US patent Jacques Protic’s address was Bryn Du, Llanbedrgoch, an old long house, just inland from Benllech and Red Wharf Bay. A beautiful detached property with 1.5 acres of land attached, selling for over £300,000. (Shown left.) He now lives in Menai Bridge in what looks like a council property. If he owned Bryn Du, then there’s a possibility it was put up as collateral with Q Plasma Technolgies or one of his other companies, and he forfeited it. If so, then this, coupled with the loss of Serbia’s mini-empire might have tipped him over the edge to become what we see today.

By whatever route he reached his present state, I conclude that Jacques Protic is a broken reed, still capable of making ugly noises when a Welsh breeze catches him, but a man of little consequence; an irritant, but nothing more. After what I’ve unearthed I’m almost feeling sorry for him. Almost.