Lubov Chernukhin, Vladimir’s husband who was President Putin’s deputy finance minister before coming to the UK, made two donations worth £13,750 in October and £66,500 in December last year.
Image: Guilhem Baker / LNP)
The Tories pocketed nearly £80,000 in donations from a Russian-born banker whose husband is former minister Vladimir Putin just months before the Ukraine invasion, new figures reveal.
Lubov Chernukhin, whose husband Vladimir served as President Putin’s deputy finance minister before coming to the UK, made two donations worth £13,750 in October and £66,500 last December.
There is no hint of any wrongdoing by Ms. Chernukhin, who is a British citizen and has been legally entitled to political donations since 2012.
The Mirror understands that the first payment was for a table at the party’s infamous Black and White Ball fundraiser, where wealthy philanthropists could rub shoulders with senior ministers and MPs while Boris Johnson rummaged through. toss his donation box to bolster the party’s coffers.
The second donation is interpreted as a successful bid in the event’s auction, in which the party sells access to cabinet ministers to the highest bidder.
Ms Chernukhin has paid multiple times to gain access to successive Prime Ministers in the auction, including a cozy night out with Theresa May and a tennis match with Boris Johnson.
Last year’s event saw an hour of cricket with Rishi Sunak sell for £35,000 – while a karaoke session with Foreign Secretary Liz Truss raised £22,000, although the number is currently unknown. Chernukhin’s money bought her nothing.
In total, Ms Chernukhin has donated almost £2 million to the party – and is the largest female political donor in British history.
£80,000 brings her total donation to the central party and individual Tory MPs for 2021 to £155,225.
Liz Truss / Instagram)
At the Prime Minister’s Questions, Labor MP Bill Esterson called on Boris Johnson to agree to give £2m donated by Ms Chernukhin to charity.
“I know he doesn’t want to blind everyone with Russian associations with the same brush, and neither do I,” he said.
“But leaked documents show that Vladimir Chernukhin received $8 million from a member of the Russian parliament, an ally of Putin, who was subsequently sanctioned by the United States.”
Mr. Esterson said that this is an opportunity for the Prime Minister to put an end to rumors of conflicts of interest and “show solidarity with the Ukrainian people.”
The prime minister responded, saying it was “important” to “prove that this is not about the Russian people, but about the Putin regime.”
Vladimir Chernukhin served as Putin’s deputy finance minister in the early 2000s, although the Conservatives say he has since fallen out of favor with the president.
In 2020, Ms. Chernukhin’s lawyer said: “Mrs. Chernukhin has never received money from [the Russian MP referred to by Mr Esterson] or any company related to him.
“Mrs Chernukhin’s contributions to the Conservative Party have never been tainted by the Kremlin or any other influence.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/tories-pocket-80000-russian-born-26366943 The Tories pocketed £80,000 from a Russian-born banker just months before invading Ukraine