Among the Tory party’s top wealthy donors is a businessman who has been interviewed under caution by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) over corruption, money laundering and bribery.
The latest official data shows that Petrofac chief executive Ayman Asfari gave a £50,000 donation to the Conservative’s election campaign just days before the Guardian found that he had been interviewed by the SFO.
Asfari’s wife Sawson also donated £50,000, bringing the total that the couple have donated to the Tories over the years to more than £800,000.
Asfari is also part of the Leader’s Group, an elite Tory donor club which gives members who donate at least £50,000 a year a chance to have dinner with the prime minister and others in the party’s inner sanctum.
The latest data shows that in the first week of the general election campaign, the Tory party received just over £4m in donations, with wealthy donors making large donations accounting for the bulk of contributions.
Addison Lee founder John Griffin is the most generous donor to the party’s general election campaign, handing out a shocking £900,000, followed by hedge fund Egerton Capital founder John Armitage, donating £400,000, and the CEO of another hedge fund Caxton Associates, Andrew Law, donating £250,000.
In total, the Tory party has so far raised nearly double the amount that Labour has, raking in £4.1m in the first week of the general election campaign, compared to Labour’s £2.7m.
Labour’s funding, on the other hand, is made up of hundreds of thousands of small donations from working people. Unite’s contribution, £2.4m, comes from union members who’ve opted into the union’s political fund. The Labour party has said that it has also previously raised £1m from small, individual donations.
The latest data of donations in the first week of the general election comes on the heels of an analysis which found that more than a third of those on the Sunday Times Rich List – a list of the UK’s 100 wealthiest people – have donated to the Tory party.
A full 35 of those who made the Rich List collectively gave £19m to the party since 2001. This group of 35 has a net worth of £123bn.
Labour’s Andrew Gwynne said that the newspaper Rich List “reads like a who’s who of Tory donors; a damning indictment of Theresa May’s rhetoric of a ‘country that works for everyone’.
“That so many of the top 100 have donated so much to the Tories, shows you that they really are the party of and for a privileged few, not the many,” he added.
“While the Tories have been going cap in hand to the country’s wealthiest tycoons, they have slashed taxes for those at the very top and raised taxes for working people.
“Working people deserve better than Tory failure. Only a Labour government will stand up for you and your families.”
Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner agreed.
“Just a brief look at the Tories’ donors list demonstrates the narrow corporate interests the party is beholden to – hedge funds and other business fat cats, one of whom has even been interviewed over possible corruption and money laundering.
“It is no coincidence that a full third of the UK’s richest people are gladly donating to the Tory party – they flock to the party that aims to undermine working people and trade union rights while creating a post-Brexit fire sale with bargain basement Britain slashing corporation tax while ensuring ever greater concentrations of wealth and opportunity accrue only to the few,” he added.
“Labour, on the other hand, is being supported by hundreds of thousands of trade union members and ordinary men and women, young and old, who are desperate to see an end to the misery and poverty of a failed economy, cuts and privitisation of our national assets,” Turner went on to say. “Labour is standing up for the many not the few, creating that fairer, more equal society we can be proud of once again.”