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Tsars in her eyes

Tory bank accounts hit new highs this quarter as rich donors ‘toff-shored’ them wads of cash. And the biggest spenders? Russian oligarchs. By Conrad Landin and Steve Sweeney

THERESA MAY is being propped up by a shady outfit of oligarchs and oil barons, new figures reveal, with Russian tycoons leading the pack.

Just a week after the Prime Minister accused Russia of “meddling in elections” and “sowing discord in the West,” the Electoral Commission revealed that two of the Tories’ major donors have strong links to the country.

In contrast, Labour’s five biggest donors are all trade unions, according to the commission’s figures for the latest quarter.

The Tories registered a £161,000 donation from Lubov Chernukhin, who is married to Russia’s former deputy finance minister Vladimir Chernukhin.

Also donating £9,900 to the party was Ukranian-born Alexander Temerko, director of oil giant OGN, who was charged with fraud and perverting the course of justice in Russia in 2002.
It is alleged that he defrauded the Russian state-owned Rosneft of shares in another company.

Britain refused to extradite him, with judge Timothy Workman finding that Mr Temerko would be “prejudiced at his trial and punished or detained by reasons of his political opinions.”

In an article for Conservative Home last month he called for a change of party leadership, describing Theresa May as a “good caretaker” but said she cannot lead the Tories into the next election.

The Tories have also taken donations worth hundreds of thousands of pounds from other figures in the oil industry. One is Ian Taylor — the chief executive of Vitol, which was fined £13 million in 2007 after admitting paying kickbacks to an Iraqi state oil firm during Saddam Hussein’s reign. In 2012 the company was found to be trading with Iranian oil companies in defiance of EU sanctions The Tories reported two donations worth £113,783.44 from Mr Taylor — on top of the £325,000 he donated in June 2017.

Labour MP Alex Sobel told the Star: “It’s telling there were no new measures in the Budget to support renewables, as is the government’s clear support for fracking — which is clearly a break with our Paris agreement commitments.

“The choice facing Britain is between a Labour Party funded by the many — by its members and workers — and a Tory Party funded by a few millionaires.”

Palestinian oil magnate Amjad Bseisu, who enjoys lavish £240 dinners in exclusive Mayfair clubs while discussing oil prices, donated £20,500 to the Tories in the last quarter. He is the chief executive of EnQuest — one of the biggest independent companies operating in North Sea oil.

The oil boss has attended meetings of the Conservatives’ Leader’s Group donor club, which offers access to the Prime Minister and senior members of the Cabinet for a £50,000 annual fee. The Tories committed to continue support for the oil industry in their 2017 manifesto, pledging more cash for the sector.

The Tories also registered a £8,400 gift from Scottish Power in September.

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