Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party has received a surge in cash from nine Russian donors, who have been named in a suppressed investigation into Russia’s attempts to undermine democracy in the UK.
The report by Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee identifies close links between major donors to the Conservative party and the Russian government, the Sunday Times reports.
The report was due for publication this week but was blocked by Johnson, due to reported fears that the information would damage his chances of winning the upcoming UK general election.
Among those donors named in the suppressed report are Alexander Temerko, who worked for the Russian defence ministry and has previously boasted that the prime minister is his “friend”.
Temerko donated more than £1.2m to the Conservatives over the past seven years.
Other Russian donors to the Conservative party include Lubov Chernukhin, who is married to Vladimir Chernukhin, a former ally of Putin.
Chernukhin previously paid £160,000 for a tennis match with Johnson and former prime minister David Cameron and has donated more than £450,000 in the past year.
The inquiry also heard concerns about the former Russian spy Alexander Lebedev, who owns the Evening Standard and Independent newspapers.
Lebedev’s son Evgeny is a close friend of the prime minister and has repeatedly hosted him for parties at his castle in Perugia Italy, while Johnson was mayor of London and Foreign Secretary
Concerns were raised about Johnson’s decision to attend the events, in which guests have reported that “nothing is off the menu from the moment you are greeted to the moment you leave.”
Fears have previously been raised that Johnson’s private life may make him a “security risk” due to the possibility he could be blackmailed. [Continue reading…]