In a potentially new scandal for the ruling Tory Party, Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, has reportedly taken £25,000 from a former Russian bank chief.
According to the Daily Mirror (July 30), Russian national Dmitry Leus made a total of three payments to Esher and Walton Conservative Association for “campaigning costs”.
Turkmenistan-born Leus is the former chairman of the Russian Depository Bank and founder of Moscow-based Bank Zapadny.
Leus has a track record in charitable donation in furtherance of his personal and political goals.
In 2019 he tried to make a £4,100 donation to the newly formed breakaway party Change UK which ran on a centrist and pro-European ticket.
However, Leus was ultimately prevented from making a donation on the grounds he was an “impermissible donor”.
According to British electoral laws, only people registered to vote in the UK are allowed to donate to political parties.
It is not clear if Leus is currently registered to vote or if indeed he is a dual British-Russian national.
Commenting on the developing story, a Tory Party spokesman said: “Like all donations to the Conservative party, this donation has been properly and transparently declared and complies fully with the law”.
But this developing story does at least highlight the double standards at the heart of the ruling Tories’ policy on Russia.
Back in March the UK’s long-awaited Integrated Review of Security, Defense, Development and Foreign Policy clearly identified Russia as posing the “most acute direct threat” to national security.
However, despite the Integrated Review’s clear warnings the Tory Party continues to take money from Russian sources.
According to the Daily Mirror since the publication of the House of Commons’ Intelligence and Security Committee’s report on Russia in July 2020, the Tory Party had accepted “more than £280,000” from “Russia-linked donors”.