hp sauce

Bunga-bunga party
Political donations , Issue 1510

Tory donor Anshuman Mishra with his friend, Saudi Aramco chairman Yasir al-Rumayyan
WHEN the Electoral Commission (EC) revealed the sizeable donations received by the Tories in the first week of the election – a whopping £5.7m, equivalent to 87 percent of those listed for all the parties – the press was quick to identify prominent benefactors like Lubov Chernukhin (who coughed up £200,000), wife of a former minister of Vladimir Putin’s; and theatre producer John Gore (who gave £1.5m, the single largest bung). But who were the under-the-radar Tory bankrollers who met the criteria for inclusion in the EC’s weekly reports by donating £7,500 or more?

First-time donor Anshuman Mishra chipped in a handy £50,000. According to his LinkedIn CV, he runs MPH Holdings, a “private office” for leading Indian families. Private offices are one-stop shops for super-rich individuals, arranging their personal financial, legal and other affairs.

But as well as serving India’s “high net worth individuals”, Mishra is keen on Saudi Arabia too, saying he “enjoys extremely close relations” with Saudi Aramco. He has posted pictures on social media of his recent visit to the kingdom with his “friend”, Yasir al-Rumayyan, chair of Saudi Aramco and governor of the Saudi sovereign wealth fund. Mishra also offered “credit” to Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman. Mishra described himself as “affiliated with [the] right wing politics” of India’s ruling BJP party, saying his “world view is aligned with Conservative-Tories in UK & Republican Party in the US”. Mishra’s donation seems to be an endorsement of Tories’ pro-Saudi foreign policy and billionaire-friendly tax policies.

Another foreign-linked donation came in the shape of £75,000 from Unatrac. This is the UK arm of the Mansour Group, owned by Egyptian oligarchs the Mansour brothers (Mohamed, Youssef and Yasseen), who are firm backers of the authoritarian Egyptian president Abdul Fattah al-Sisi (see p20 and Eye 1491).

Building relationships
Other donations included £200,000 from European Land & Property Ltd, the development company set up as a joint venture between the Reuben brothers and the Jarvis family to develop Merchant Square in Paddington, London. European Land made much smaller contributions of £30,000 and £20,000 in 2015 and 2016, so this represents a big boost in donations.

Harbour Hotels Holdings Ltd gave £90,000. This is the hotel development firm owned by Nic Roach. Jeremy Hunt, a friend of Roach, bought seven luxury buy-to-let flats in Southampton with his wife from the developer, which Hunt then “forgot” to declare to parliament. Churchill Retirement Group gave £150,000. This won’t improve the Tories’ image as a party that doesn’t appeal to the young. Churchill is owned by Clinton and Spencer McCarthy, who, according to the Sunday Times Rich List, have – along with their father, John – a £650m fortune. As the Eye revealed (issue 1472), the McCarthys have lobbied the government strongly to weaken the amount of “affordable housing” developers must build.

Pennies from havens
Meanwhile, offshore financiers ramped up their donations ahead of a manifesto that mercifully had nothing in it to threaten their charmed lives. Asset manager and winner of awards for its “tax efficiency”, Shore Capital Group plc, which is directly owned by a Guernsey company run by Howard Shore, handed over £258,500.

Not far behind was hedgie Andrew Law, who gave £200,000. His Caxton Associates fund is also owned through a Guernsey-based company, while its UK operations – which act on behalf of offshore companies based in Bermuda and BVI that make the real money – made no profits and so paid just a trivial £600 in corporation tax last year.

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More top stories in the latest issue:

“All [Tory] donations are properly vetted,” insists Boris Johnson. This vetting is the responsibility of the party treasurer – a man well known to Eye readers…

Home Office officials say EU nationals in the UK will not face the same fate as Windrush victims after Brexit. But the evidence is unconvincing.

The Labour candidate caught up in a mess over a secret Facebook group she co-founded which advised members how to avoid being chucked out of the party.

Conservative campaign HQ’s Trumpian attempts to deflect from serious questions by accusing journalists of bias.

Labour’s manifesto plan to raise an extra £83bn a year to fund a rise in spending is actually more sensible than its previous pie-in-the-sky pronouncements.

The pledge from the Tories to “build at least 1m new homes, of all tenures, over the next parliament” sounded generous – but alas, it is anything but.

Boris Johnson’s pledge to fill potholes encapsulates Tory governance, with councils having been hit by huge funding cuts under Tory austerity.

Andrea Leadsom says it’s “vital that businesses pay their fair share of tax”. She might want to tell the hedge fund in which her husband is a leading figure…

Private Eye Issue 1510
In This Issue
Grand Old Duke of York relieved of duties… Those Labour promises to the Waspi women in full… City firms cut ties with prince’s charities… Game of Thrones actress “pressured over nudity”… New business conglomerate offers solution to UK flooding… Students rally against attacks on their democratic freedom… China pledges to crush democracy more respectfully after Hong Kong elections… Jeremy Corbyn writes…

Spy bye
An ex GCHQ director joins a company with a shady record

Intelligence test
The man vetting Tory candidates is uniquely qualified

Broad swipe
Osborne’s conflict of interests over BT broadband

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10th December 2019
Private Eye Issue 1509