Nine Russian Businessmen Financed Britain’s Conservative Party: Classified Report

A classified parliamentary report on Russian interference in British elections, which was supressed by the government, reveals that nine Russian businesspeople have donated to Britain’s Conservative Party, The Sunday Times reported.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s opponents accuse him of blocking the report ahead of the Dec. 12 parliamentary election, an assertion that his Conservative-led government dismissed. The report looks at Russian activity aimed at Britain.  Johnson’s office has not yet approved the report for publication despite security services clearing it last month.

Without saying where it obtained their names, The Times identified three of the nine oligarchs that the controversial report on Russian meddling allegedly mentions.

According to the newspaper, the list includes Alexander Temerko, who has worked both with Russia’s Defense Ministry and the defunct oil company Yukos. The Times reported that Temerko, who was called one of the party’s major donors earlier this year, donated £1.5 million ($1.9 million) to the Conservatives in seven years.

The outlet called Lyubov Chernukhina, the wife of former deputy Finance Minister Vladimir Chernukhin, the “largest Tory donor” with £450,000 ($579,000) donated to the Conservatives in the past year.

Lawmakers on the parliamentary committee that conducted the inquiry into Russia were also reportedly briefed on ex-KGB spy and current business tycoon Alexander Lebedev. His son Yevgeny Lebedev, who co-owns Britain’s Independent and Evening Standard newspapers with his father, was reported to have entertained then-Foreign Secretary Johnson at a party in his family’s castle in Italy last year. The Times did not say whether or how much they donated to the Conservatives.

Advocacy group Open Democracy said last week that Russian donors have donated almost £490,000 ($631,000) to the Conservatives between November 2018 and October 2019.

Britain has accused Russia of interfering or trying to interfere in elections, accusations that Moscow denies.