Private Eye logo
twitter
twitter
rss
rss
rss
gnitty
hp sauce
Dave’s donors and the Moscow connection
Russian sanctions, Issue 1363
putin cameron.jpg
NO WONDER David Cameron has been slow to follow President Obama’s call for economic sanctions “imposing a cost on Russia” over Ukraine: not only does he have to worry about the City’s enthusiasm for Russian money, but Putin-friendly businessmen are among his party’s biggest donors.

Ian Taylor, boss of giant oil-trading firm Vitol, gave the Tories £134,000 last year, a sum which buys him private meetings with the prime minister. His donations since 2006 total more than £600,000.

Last year Vitol went into partnership with trading firm Glencore to lend $10bn to fund expansion at the Russian state-owned energy firm Rosneft (run by Putin’s close ally Igor Sechin), to be repaid with oil deliveries. Vitol is partially headquartered in the EU (in Rotterdam and Geneva) so any genuine sanctions could disrupt its business.

Personal business
Vitol’s Russian interests go beyond Rosneft. Last November, Russia’s government-owned gas firm Gazprom announced that it was working with Vitol to develop underground gas storage and gas-fired power stations in Europe. While the UK government discusses reducing reliance on Russian gas because of the Ukraine crisis, Taylor’s Vitol is going into business with Gazprom to increase it.

Vitol says Taylor’s donations are his personal business, but Taylor personally announced both the Rosneft and Gazprom deals, and was among those at Gazprom’s London offices for its annual champagne reception last month. Meanwhile Vitol boosted its Tory links last month by employing former energy minister Charles Hendry MP as a £60,000-a-year consultant.

Another Tory donor, Moscow-born billionaire Alexander Knaster, has given £400,000 to the party since 2010. Knaster runs London finance firm Pamplona Capital Management, which specialises in helping rich Russians invest in the west – hardly a trade to welcome sanctions. Knaster is close to Mikhail Fridman, a Russian oligarch whose Alfa Bank employed Knaster as chief executive before he came to London. Knaster, too, is involved in Russian energy deals: German firm RWE is selling its oil business to Fridman and other oligarchs. Knaster was chief negotiator on the deal and is reportedly backing it financially. This kind of trade could well be hurt by tough sanctions.

More top stories in the latest issue:

PENSIONS VOLTE-FACE
How George Osborne seems to have changed his tune about the danger of trusting people with their own money.

MISSED TARGET
The chancellor’s claim that he’s stopping companies shifting profits around to avoid tax sounds fine – but new laws have actually achieved the opposite.

MoD ALL AT SEA
CGI footage of the UK’s new aircraft carrier sailing into Portsmouth can’t hide the fact that she won’t be ready before 2020 – and is currently too big for the port!

GRIM REAPER NEWS
The RAF’s armed drone, the Reaper, whose flights in Afghanistan are all controlled and authorised by… US intelligence!

BENN BALLS
Gavel Basher in the Commons hears the pisspoor purple spoutings of MPs inspired by the life of the late Tony Benn.

CHINESE WALLS?
Education minister Elizabeth Truss goes to China to find out about maths teaching… with an Ofsted director and the head of an academy chain.

BRUSSELS SPROUTS
The European institutions where unpaid internships, illegal in various EU countries, are still getting people to work for nothing.


To read all these stories in full, you can buy the latest edition of Private Eye - or subscribe here and have the magazine delivered to your home every fortnight.

Next issue on sale:
15th April 2014.
gnitty
More From This Issue
Top Stories
Street Of Shame
more »
Top Stories
Lookalikes
Are they related?
more »
Lookalikes
A Message
from the New Coalition Academy
more »
A Message
Also Available Online
More From This Issue
Private Eye Issue 1363
private eye Only In The Magazine

New From Gnome Mart – the Chris & Gwynnie Sick BucketStalin, Hitler, Pol Pot: Nigel Farage’s Guide to Great Leaders Around the World… Those Coalition Bingo Calls in Full… Malaysian Aircraft Story Disappears… Crystal Meth User Admits Being Banker… Loch Ness Monster Demands Referendum Vote… New for Pensioners: It’s the Lamborghini Mobility Scooter… Tony Benn’s Diary, as told to Craig Brown

And also...

- Phoenix flights: Awkward questions for busy defence boss Robin Southwell.
- Moscow-on-Thames: Slicker on the oligarchs who help keep Putin in power.
For all these stories you can buy the magazine or subscribe here and get delivery direct to your home every fortnight.
Next issue on sale: 15th April 2014.

Private Eye Issue 1362
gnitty