Sir Ehud Sheleg’s donations to the Conservative Party may have attracted the attention of the National Crime Agency, but at least the portly art dealer has kept enough in the kitty to finance a luxury leisure complex on the grounds of his £5m home in Hampstead, north London.
Boris Johnson’s key backer, identified last week as having been “flagged over suspicious Russian bank funds,” has just been granted planning permission to construct a pool house – complete with sauna, spa and gym – beside his huge mansion. The development has been in the offing since 2019, but his local council have been agonising over it as its 295 sq metre footprint is some two sq metres bigger than the 293 sq metre footprint of his home.
Sheleg has bankrolled the Conservatives with more than £3.5m since 2017. He was given his knighthood and appointed party treasurer six months before the 2019 election.
The New York Times revealed last week that a donation of £450,000 Sheleg made to the party in February 2018 caused Barclays to draw it to the attention of the National Crime Agency as the bank believed the cash originated in the Russian account of his father-in-law Sergei Kopytov.
Sheleg’s company Halcyon Fine Art Holdings is a money-spinner with profits of £142.4m for the year ended April 30, 2020. Sheleg has owned his Hampstead pile since 2002, when Land Registry documents show he paid £4.85m for it.