Tories face questions over £500,000 of donations linked to bribery-accused banker

  • UK News
  • October 31, 2022
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The Conservatives have been urged to make clear whether or not they may hand again about £500,000 of donations from an organization linked to a Venezuelan-Italian banker charged with conspiracy, bribery and wire fraud within the US.

Labour questioned whether or not the celebration ought to give again money donated since 2019 by Britannia Monetary Companies, which was based by Julio Herrera Velutini.

Herrera Velutini was charged by the US Division of Justice with conspiracy, federal programmes bribery and sincere companies wire fraud in relation to an election in Puerto Rico in 2020, in response to a press launch on 4 August.

The fees relate to allegations that Herrera Velutini and one other man, via intermediaries, supplied marketing campaign funding to a candidate to be Puerto Rico governor in alternate for her promising to nominate a brand new monetary regulator. A financial institution owned by Herrera Velutini was on the time beneath examination by the Puerto Rico monetary regulator.

Britannia Monetary Companies stated Herrera Velutini stepped down as a director in November 2021 and was now not concerned in “day-to-day administration” of the corporate. There is no such thing as a suggestion of any wrongdoing by Britannia Monetary Companies, which didn’t reply to a query about Herrera Velutini nonetheless being listed with Corporations Home as proprietor of 75% or extra of the corporate.

Legal professionals for Herrera Velutini stated all the fees in opposition to him have been baseless and politically motivated, and denied in full.

Anneliese Dodds, the Labour chair, referred to as on the Conservatives to clarify what, if any, interplay Herrera Velutini had with Boris Johnson, ministers and the celebration co-chair Ben Elliot.

In a letter to Andrew Stephenson, a Tory MP and new co-chair of the celebration, she additionally referred to as for readability on “whether or not the Conservative celebration intends to carry on to the monies donated by [the company linked to] Mr Velutini in gentle of the fees introduced in opposition to him by the US authorities”.

She stated Stephenson ought to name on the prime minister to take away Elliot as a co-chair of the celebration, alleging that he and Johnson had overseen a “cash-for-access tradition within the Conservative celebration”.

She highlighted allegations that Elliot created an “advisory board” of donors to the Conservative celebration, who have been granted privileged entry to senior ministers and authorities officers on the top of the Covid-19 pandemic in return for his or her £250,000 annual membership.

“A brand new broom is clearly wanted to exhibit to the general public that the Conservative celebration is dedicated to cleansing up its act,” she wrote to Stephenson. “That is your alternative to make your mark as co-chair. Will you subsequently name publicly for Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak to clarify what they may do to wash up the sleaze-ridden Conservative celebration?”

In response to Dodds’ letter, a Tory spokesperson stated: “Donations to the Conservative celebration are correctly and transparently declared to the Electoral Fee, brazenly printed by them and comply totally with the regulation.”

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