Conservatives are refusing to give back a £160k donation from a Russian oligarch with links to the Kremlin, according to the Sun. The money was paid by the wife of Vladimir Putin’s former deputy finance minister for a special tennis match with David Cameron and Boris Johnson.
Lubov Chernukhin, who is married to billionaire oligarch Vladimir Chernukhin, won the prize during an auction at the Conservatives Summer party two weeks ago. Party goers were charged up to £12k per table to hob knob with senior politicians and business leaders at the event which took place at the exclusive the 42-acre Hurlingham Club in Fulham.
As the Ukraine situation worsens questions are being asked about whether the Conservatives should keep such a large donation from a Russian source. Cameron is personally leading calls for fresh sanctions on the men he dubbed “Putin’s cronies” across the EU.
This has led the veteran Labour MP, John Mann to attack him for hypocrisy. Mr Mann said: “David Cameron’s approach is ‘Tough on Putin, tough on Putin’s pals’. ‘But thanks for the donation, I will keep that. Anyone for tennis?'”
A Conservative spokesman defended the donation saying: “All donations to the Conservative Party are fully permissible and transparently declared to the Electoral Commission and published on their website”.
Whilst the donation is likely to cause embarrassment for the Conservatives it does cast light onto the world of their Treasurer’s Department. The party has always been famous for its ability to bring in millions before a general election, allowing it to outspend every other political party.
The gap between the parties at the next election is likely to be bigger than ever as Labour struggle to persuade Trade Unions to part with their money for a lacklustre Ed Miliband leadership. This is likely to help Cameron overcome the disadvantage he is at due to an electoral system that enables Labour to win with fewer votes than the Conservatives.
This donation also shows the growing significance the Russian community have in London. Much like elites from the Middle East, wealthy Russians like to maintain a base in London as it is seen as a political and economic safe haven.
Most of them are able to live in the capital because they have also been granted citizenship of another EU country. In most cases their citizenship will be from an Eastern European country that they have no obvious connection with.
Earlier this week, as reported on Breitbart London the Prime Minister called for Putin to end his support for the Russian separatists who are tearing Ukraine apart. He said that Ukraine was suffering a: “conflict that could have been curtailed by Moscow [but] has instead been fomented by Moscow.”