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City MP challenges Tories on Russian-linked AQUIND donations

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan has backed Labour’s calls to investigate whether donations to the Conservative party from Russian-linked individuals like Alexander Temerko are connected to Putin’s Kremlin.

Questions from Labour follow revelations on a series of wealthy donors who have given money to the Conservatives and have business links to Russia or other wealthy Russians.

Donors who have made money from Russia or Russians have given £1.93m to either the Conservative party or individual constituency associations since Boris Johnson took power in July 2019, according to calculations made by Labour based on disclosures to the Electoral Commission.

This includes Alexander Temerko and Aquind, the energy company he part-owns. Temerko has handed more than £1.6m in donations to Conservative political figures over recent years.Its majority investor, the Russian-born oil tycoon Viktor Fedotov, secretly co-owned a company once accused of participating in a massive corruption scheme relating to a Russian pipeline.

Labour’s Security Minister Conor McGinn said it was “deeply worrying to see revealed potential financial links between senior donors and Putin’s Russia” and asked about “the adequacy of the processes” by which donors are vetted.

In a letter addressed to his opposite number in government, Damian Hinds, he asked “What checks have been completed on the financial origins of the donations themselves and were any links to hostile state actors discovered?” He also asked whether MI5 had raised any concerns about the cash and its influence.

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said:

“I have long raised concerns about AQUIND’s opaque financial structures and the possible threat the project poses to our national security.

“The fact is, we don’t know where AQUIND’s money comes from or who is providing it. Until recently, even its true owners were able to remain anonymous. This, plus their sizeable donations to senior Conservative politicians, paints an increasingly sinister picture of their motives.

“Serious questions remain about whether we should trust them to build nationally significant infrastructure. We don’t know what Tory MPs promised them before lining their pockets and accepting their cash.

“One thing is clear: Ministers must immediately stop AQUIND, once and for all. Any pretence that this Tory Government is able to make an impartial decision on the project is laughable”.