The shameful generosity of Russian oligarchs to UK institutions and political parties

Russian billionaire Evgeny Lebedev (here in 2016) is close to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Since the start of the invasion of Ukraine, the British government hasn’t had enough harsh words against the Russian oligarchs who, since the 1990s, have made London their capital of choice – safe and with little to no origins of their wealth. With due respect. “There is no place for dirty money in Britain”warned Prime Minister Boris Johnson, after the United Kingdom neared a dozen of Putin’s regimes.

But Downing Street did not dare attack another evil: the astonishing permeability of Russian wealth to the country’s institutions and political parties – the Conservative Party in particular. Some statistics: Since Boris Johnson became prime minister in July 2019, his party has benefited from 2 million pounds sterling (2.42 million euros) of Russian money – information is public, compiled by the British Election Commission.

donation is considered legal

One of the main donors is called Lubov Chernukhin, he has donated £2.2 million to the Tories since 2012. Her last donation, 66,500 pounds sterling (80,700 euros), is dated 20 December 2021. Discreet, this owner of a real estate company is married to a former Russian deputy finance minister who left Moscow in the early 2000s. In February 2020, he paid £45,000 (54,600 euros) for a game of tennis with Boris Johnson and Tories president Ben Elliott.

He paid £30,000 (36,400 euros) for a place next to the then Education Minister Gavin Williamson at a charity dinner. In April 2020, he spent another 135,000 pounds (164,000 euros) sharing a gourmet meal at a luxury hotel in Goring, London, with former Prime Minister Theresa May and then Treasury Minister Liz Truss – now on Foreign Affairs. In the early 2000s, Lubov Chernukhin acquired British nationality, his donation is considered legal.

Another generous Russian donor: businessman Alexander Temerko, who has donated more than 1.3 million pounds (1.58 million euros) to the Conservative Party in recent years. Born in Ukraine, he made his fortune in the arms and energy sectors, but denied being close to Putin’s regime. A British citizen since 2011, he says he funded the Conservative Party because the latter is “pro business” and he doesn’t agree “nationalization” The will of the Labor Party. Buying effect, a way to gain respect? In recent weeks, Downing Street has defended itself by emphasizing the British nationality of donors.

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