- The husband of a major donor to Boris Johnson’s Conservative party has allegedly been secretly funded by a Russian oligarch with close links to Vladimir Putin, according to leaked files.
- Lubov Chernukhin, the party’s biggest female donor, has paid to spend time with each of the last three prime ministers, having played a tennis match with Boris Johnson.
- Leaked financial documents shared with the BBC and other news organisations show that her husband Vladimir Chernukhin was given £6.1 million, originally by a Russian politician and oligarch called Suleyman Kerimov who faced sanctions from the US because of his close links with the Kremlin.
- The leaks are part of a tranche of files leaked to news organisations called the FinCen files.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The husband of a major donor to Boris Johnson’s Conservative party has allegedly been secretly funded by a Russian oligarch who is closely linked to Russian president Vladimir Putin, according to leaked files.
Lubov Chernukhin is a Russian who has donated £1.7 million pounds to the Conservative party, making her the party’s biggest female donor. She has paid to spend time with each of the last three prime ministers, having once paid £160,000 for a tennis match with Boris Johnson.
Leaked financial documents shared with BBC Newsnight and other news organisations show that her husband Vladimir Chernukhin was given £6.1 million, originally by a Russian politician and oligarch called Suleyman Kerimov who faced sanctions from the US because of his close links with the Kremlin.
The leaks are part of a tranche of files leaked to news organisations, called the FinCen files, which allegedly show some of the world’s biggest banks allowing criminals to launder dirty money across the world with ease.
Chernukhin received the money in 2016 from a company registered in the British Virgin Islands which was linked to Kerimov, a member of the Federation Council, the Russian parliament’s upper chamber.
Vladimir Chernukhin was a deputy finance minister in Russia until 2004, before he fell out with Putin and moved to London. Lubov, a banker, last year donated £135,000 at a Conservative party fundraiser to have a “ladies night” with former Prime Minister Theresa May and six Cabinet colleagues.
Daniel Bruce, chief executive of anti-corruption charity Transparency International UK, said: “These new revelations will only fuel persistent concerns that our political system is open to interference from foreign governments and other actors.
“Our research has found the public think wealthy individuals often use their influence on government for their own interests and there should be stricter rules to prevent this. To win back public trust, Parliament should legislate to remove the corrupting influence of big money from our democracy.”
The leak comes amid significant concern over the influence of Russian money in UK politics. A report by UK lawmakers published in July showed that Russia’s elites had integrated themselves with a high degree of success into the UK’s social, business, and political circles.
It said Russian influence in London was”the new normal,” adding that “there are a lot of Russians with very close links to Putin who are well integrated into the UK business and social scene and accepted because of their wealth.”
It also said London had become the focus of a significant amount of money-laundering, saying that the UK was “viewed as a particularly favourable destination for Russian oligarchs and their money.”
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