Table 3: The Russians: Sponsored by David Burnside (£400 per head) At least £1,100,000,000 in combined wealth
* David Burnside: Former Ulster Unionist MP turned public relations expert with Russian clients. Personal + company donations: £91,000.00. The cigar-loving 62-year old from Ballymoney was revealed to have taken a group of prominent Russians, including a close ally of Vladimir Putin, to the 2013 Conservative summer fundraising party and introduced them to David Cameron. Burnside, an Ulster Unionist who, a friend said, “marches with a bowler hat on”, has become a favoured adviser to what appears to be an ever expanding group of rich but politically controversial clients from behind the iron curtain.
Since losing his South Antrim parliamentary seat in 2005, he has built up a client list that has included a foundation run by a Ukrainian gas and chemicals oligarch wanted by the US for bribery, a Russian chemicals billionaire seeking a British passport and the Moscow International Financial Centre, a Putin-led initiative to boost the attractiveness of Russia’s markets to foreign investors.
The Russians Burnside represents are not the only ones enjoying closer relations with the Conservatives. In the last week, the Guardian has revealed how a firm linked to an exiled Russian banker, who was granted asylum in the UK last year, paid the Tories £40,000 for a portrait of Margaret Thatcher at a fundraising auction and how last week the wife of another Russian banker paid the party £160,000 for a game of tennis with Cameron and the London mayor, Boris Johnson.
* Vasily Shestakov: Vladamir Putin’s judo partner, businessman and member of the Russian parliament. In May 2013 Shestakov was made an honorary freeman of the City of London. Days later Cameron held talks in Sochi with Putin. In June, shortly before the Tory fundraiser, Shestakov hosted a sambo event at Kensington Palace. He read out a message from Russia’s president to guests including Prince Michael of Kent, Lord Reading and a Russian business delegation.
* Alex Nekrassov: Son of a former Kremlin adviser. Director of New Century’s Financial and corporate services practice, specialising in strategic communications and reputation management campaigns on behalf of FTSE100 companies, international financial and professional services firms, global energy corporates, private family offices and high-profile individuals. Alex advised BP on the communications strategy around the sale of its 50 per cent stake in TNK-BP to Rosneft, as part of the Russian-state oil company’s $55bn acquisition of TNK-BP. Alex joined New Century in the summer of 2009 from a City capital markets and private equity consultancy firm. He graduated from University College London in 2007. http://newcenturymedia.co.uk/alex-nekrassov/
* John Whittingdale: MP for Maldon and chairman of the culture, media and sport select committee. Personal donations: £3,000. Last year he was one of just six MPs to vote against equal-pay legislation, which would require all medium-sized companies to declare their average pay for male and female employees. He has also voted against LGBT equality, including moves to lower the age of same-sex consent and to legalise gay marriage. His appointment has also been accompanied by speculation that he will take a hard stance against the BBC, with some suggesting he will “go to war” with the broadcaster. He has previously been a vocal critic of the licence fee, saying: “It’s very regressive, expensive to collect, and you get these ridiculous letters threatening you with having your nails pulled out if you don’t admit you’ve got a TV… It’s a poll tax. Actually it’s worse than a poll tax.”
* Timothy Lewin: Set up the Positive Russia Foundation, a pro-Kremlin campaign in the UK. After a brief career as a journalist Tim Lewin joined the Financial Services industry in 1972, heading the physicals trading division of Edward Boustead & Co., one of the oldest trading houses in the UK. He is a former member of the Bank of England Committee supervision committee. In 1991 Tim was invited to join the team of consultants engaged by the British Government to lend support and techniques to the economies in transition. Clients included the Anti-Monopoly Service, the Bank of Russia, MICEX and RTS, Moscow Oil Exchange, several depository companies, different committees in the Federal Duma, RAO UES, and numerous regional Governments. Most recently, Tim has joined the board of a number of influential Russian investment funds and continues to work as advisor and consultant in countries such as Azerbaijan.
* Tony Lodge: Director at London PR firm New Century Media. Tony has worked in British politics for over ten years. He has worked for backbench MPs, Shadow Cabinet Members, Chairs of Parliamentary Select Committees and advised on policy, parliamentary procedure and media relations. He has taken an active part in developing political policies with numerous published contributions in areas ranging from transport to energy and EU policy. With an extensive list of parliamentary, trade, media and regulatory contacts Tony provides both political and wider public policy counsel. Having worked on many policy and parliamentary projects in areas including energy, infrastructure, the EU, environmental and industrial policy, Lodge brings a wealth of unique expertise to New Century.
* Andrei Kliamko: Belarus-born steel magnate worth £1.1bn. Wealth: £1,100,000,000. Co-owner of Smart Holding Group who has an estimated net worth of $1.9 billion according to Forbes. He is also the 53rd richest person in Russia and 792nd in the world. He also serves as the President of the Sambo Federation of St. Petersburg, a martial arts organization. Kyamko’s estimated net worth mostly came from Smart Holding which he co-owns with fellow billionaire Vadim Novinsky. It is one of the largest investment groups in the Ukraine with interests in the economy of metals and mining, oil and gas, shipbuilding, real estate, and agriculture. Its investment activities are focused on the investments in the Ukraine, CIS, and the Easter Europe countries.
* Alexander Kuznetsov: Ally of Shestakov and president of the Multisport Association of Russia.
* Lord Simon Reading: The first ever Jewish family gifted with a peerage. The Marquess of Reading and a member of the House of Lords (1980-1999), has been active for over 30 years in the mining sector in Africa and elsewhere. Lord Reading has a broad financial background, as a Member of the London Stock Exchange, and as a Member of Lloyds. He served as Director or Advisor for a number of companies and charities, including New Sage Energy Corp. (TSXV), Consegna (ASX), Dragonvision Corporation International, Willow Impact Investment Fund, the Great Turk Fund, and others. He was educated at Eton College. President of the Commonwealth Sambo Association, a Russian martial art. He is a close friend of Prince Charles and his family move easily in Royal circles. His son, Julian Michael Rufus Isaacs, Viscount Erleigh (born 1986), and one of his two daughters, Lady Natasha Rufus Isaacs (born 1983) are members of the Prince Harry set.
Lady Natasha Rufus Isaacs, 31, is the daughter of Simon Charles Henry Rufus Isaacs, the Marquess of Reading. The stylish socialite is the founder of Beulah London, an ethical luxury fashion label. Kate has been seen wearing her designs on many official occasions, despite having dated Natasha’s now-husband, Rupert Finch, while attending St Andrews. Hows that for a connection?
Julian Rufus Isaacs, styled Viscount Erleigh, is Natasha Rufus Isaacs’s older brother and the heir apparent of the Marquess of Reading. He reportedly introduced Prince Harry to his now-ex-girlfriend, Chelsy Davy.
The Bahrain Connection: Sponsored by Lord Clanwilliam. (£1000 per head). At least £100,000,000 in combined wealth at the table.
* Dr Afnan Al-Shuaiby: Saudi chief executive of the Arab British Chamber of Commerce. No friend of the Labour Party. As Tony Blair’s former Middle East envoy, Baroness Symons is used to trying to bring warring factions together. The ex-minister will, however, need all of her diplomatic skills in Mayfair if, as expected, she becomes the new chairman of the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday. Mandrake can disclose that the organisation, which is based opposite the American embassy, is in chaos after the resignation of its financial director, David Lewendon. His sudden departure comes amid claims that the leadership of the chamber’s first woman secretary general and chief executive, Dr Afnan al-Shuaiby, a glamorous close friend of the Saudi Arabian ambassador, Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf, is driving a wedge between its Arab and British members.
Lewendon’s exit was followed by the resignations of at least three more members of its board of directors. Sir Roger Tomkys, 70, the chamber’s long-serving chairman, has decided not to attempt to stay in his post. “It is a terible situation,” one member tells Mandrake. “More resignations are expected. There is growing resentment at the way Al Shuaiby runs things.”
bahrain Protests Human Rights Denial
Darren Hughes, Deputy Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said: ‘This is the latest demonstration of why we need a new, more transparent system for funding political parties. Every time we get an insight into how parties raise money, it further cements the impression that our democracy is for sale. Earlier this year we found that three-quarters of the public believe big money has too much influence on political parties, and 61% believe the party funding system is corrupt. Revelations like this are only going to push those numbers in one direction. ‘Reform of our party funding system is long overdue. Every time party leaders get together to talk about how to fund parties fairly and transparently, discussions collapse because of partisan interests. And every time that happens, people’s faith in politics takes yet another nosedive. It is high time the parties get together and agree on how to raise money fairly and transparently, before people turn away from party politics for good.’
* Philip Hammond: MP for Runnymede and Weybridge, and defence secretary since October 2011.
Hammond Wife Susan
* Susan Hammond: Wife of Philip Hammond MP.
* Conor Burns: MP for Bournemouth West and chair of the all-party parliamentary group for Bahrain.
* Richard Sharp: Former banker, Tory donor and member of the Bank of England financial policy committee. Wealth: £100,000,000. Personal donations: £402,420. 863rd on the 2014 Sunday Times Rich List. A former banker hand-picked by chancellor George Osborne to help police the financial system donated hundreds of thousands of pounds to the Conservative Party.
Richard Sharp, a 23 year veteran of Goldman Sachs, donated £402,420 in the decade before the Conservatives returned to power in May 2010, according to official records. He was appointed in March to the Bank of England’s Financial Policy Committee, the new watchdog set up to protect the public from another financial meltdown.
Last night Sharp’s role on the committee was slammed as ‘wholly inappropriate’. One insider said the donations are likely to be scrutinised by the influential Treasury Select Committee of MPs, which will grill new committee members over the next few weeks. ‘The parameters against which these appointments are judged are independence and competence. So it’s likely this issue will be raised.’ There are no rules banning members from making political donations.
But in legislation published by the Treasury in January last year it said that the FPC may need to make unpopular decisions. It added that ‘it is vital that such decisions can be taken independently of undue political influence.’ The Bank of England’s code of conduct also stipulates that members must demonstrate they have no financial or other interests ‘that could give rise to a perception that the individual concerned could not be wholly independent, disinterested and impartial as a member of the committee.’
John Mann, Labour MP and member of the Treasury Select Committee said: ‘It’s wholly inappropriate for anyone giving a donation to any political party, particularly the party in power, to sit on that committee.’
Mr Sharp was one of the longest serving partners at investment banking giant Goldman Sachs – nicknamed Golden Sacks because of its lavish pay packages. He resigned at the end of 2006.
Observation: That puts paid to any denial of a conspiracy theory that the bankers rule the world and own the political class. High powered political positions in the Westminster system of government is a conspiracy fact?
* Lord Clanwilliam: PR adviser who works for the government of Bahrain. Personal donations: £11,450. Founder and chairman of PR firm Meade Hall & Associates (formerly Gardant Communications) which represents the Government of Bahrain.