Wednesday, 4 August 2021

Tories and possible corruption

 Peter Black draws attention to the money which is flowing into Conservative party coffers from interested parties. His post reminds me of the long-standing reports in Private Eye of the financial standing of the Halcyon Gallery owner Sir Ehud Sheleg who is treasurer of the party. In May, the magazine recapped:

in 2011 an appeal court judge found that, in a dispute over a contract one of Sheleg's art companies had reneged on, his and others evidence was "not just dishonest but indicative of a willingness to say whatever was required by the exigencies of the moment" 

Before that, 

Sheleg was known for dissolving companies with unpaid VAT liabilities so often that he managed to acquire the unflattering nickname of "Alka Seltzer". Since then, he's been known more for doing business with a Russian organised crime figure in Cyprus, as well as several other shady characters, and conducting much of his business via opaque offshore companies. 

All this before gaining a knighthood in Mrs May's resignation honours list after only a couple of months as party treasure. Somewhere in the years between there was a small matter of a total £2.7m donation to the Conservatives. 

The art market is known as a conduit for hot money. Even without the judicial reprimands and the creative skirting of financial regulations, surely there should have been doubts about appointing someone in that business to a critical post in the party of government, where the incumbent should be like Caesar's wife?

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