The embarrassing generosity of the Russian oligarchs of UK institutions and political parties

The embarrassing generosity of the Russian oligarchs of UK institutions and political parties

Since the beginning of the invasion in Ukraine, the British government has not issued enough harsh words against the Russian oligarchs who, since the 1990s, have made London their capital – safe with little regard for the origin of their money. ‘There is no place for dirty money in the UK’Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned, after dozens of relatives of the Putin regime have been sanctioned by the UK.

But Downing Street did not dare attack another evil: the astonishing permeability of Russian money to the country’s institutions and political parties – particularly the Conservative Party. Some numbers: Since Boris Johnson took office in July 2019, his party has benefited from £2m (€2.42m) of Russian money – Information is public, collected by the UK Election Commission.

Donations are legal

One of the main donors is called Lubov Chernukhin, and she has donated £2.2 million to the Conservatives since 2012. Her latest donation, £66,500 (€80,700), dates back to December 20, 2021. The company is married to a former Russian Deputy Finance Minister who left Moscow early in the decade And in February 2020, she paid £45,000 (€54,600) for a tennis match with Boris Johnson and Conservative Party chairman Ben Elliot Ben Elliot.

She paid 30,000 pounds (36,400 euros) for a place next to Gavin Williamson, then-education minister, at a charity dinner. In April 2020, she spent £135,000 (€164,000) sharing a gourmet meal at London’s luxury Goring Hotel, with former Prime Minister Theresa May and then Chancellor of the Exchequer Liz Truss – who is now on foreign affairs. Lubov Chernokhin received British citizenship in the early 2000s, and his donations are considered legal.

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Another generous Russian donor: businessman Alexander Temirko, who has given more than 1.3 million pounds (1.58 million euros) to the Conservative Party in recent years. Born in Ukraine, he made his fortune from weapons and the energy sector, but he denied being close to the Putin regime. A British citizen since 2011, he says he funded the Conservative Party because the latter funded “Professional Business” And it does not agree with “nationalizations” required by the Labor Party. Buying influence as a way to gain respect? In recent weeks, Downing Street has defended itself by insisting on British citizenship for donors.

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