Russian tycoon behind company that has given Tories more than £240,000 must be named, say MPs
PUBLISHED: 16:10 24 July 2020 | UPDATED: 16:17 24 July 2020
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MPs have said the Russian tycoon behind one of Britain’s biggest infrastructure projects, and has given the Tories more than £40,000 since 2018, must be named.
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Aquind has plans to install a £1.2 billion electric pipeline under the Channel Tunnel between Britain and France.
But whilst its director has been named as a Tory donor that has given £1.3 million in donations, the controlling party cannot be named under an exemption to regulations that were meant to improve transparency.
A get-out clause allows an individual to prevent being named if they believe their life was at risk.
Companies House told the Times that the “person with significant control” of the business was “at risk of serious risk of violence or intimidation”.
It means the identity behind scores of donations to Tory MPs cannot be revealed.
Two of its directors were at the centre of a ‘cash for favour’ accusation after they both shared a table with business secretary Alok Sharma at a Tory fundraiser at a time when the minister was set to make a decision on the pipeline project.
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Angela Rayner MP, Labour’s deputy leader, said: “The Russia report laid bare the influence that super-rich Russian oligarchs have sought to exert over our politics.
“Given we already know that over a dozen Tory ministers are being bankrolled by individuals and businesses with links to Russia, the public have a right to know the identity of the Russian tycoon behind this major UK infrastructure project.
“The government has questions to answer about the links between party donors and planning applications if we are to believe that money does not buy influence over our politics.”
Tory backbenchers also joined in the calls for the identity to be revealed.
Iain Duncan Smith commented: “If he is a Russian, then presumably he’s claiming that Putin would get him if his name were known... The whole thing is absurd because Putin will know who they are”.
He added: “The only people that he’s hiding from turn out to be the British public and the British government.”
Bob Seely MP also said: “For something as important as this — supplying a large chunk of the UK’s energy needs — it is uncomfortable & somewhat bizarre that elements of its ownership are opaque. Is it in our national interest? I’d suggest, respectfully, that it isn’t.”
Company director Alexander Temerko has denied more than £1 million worth of donations to the Tories gave him any influence in Westminster.
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