LONDON (Reuters) – A former Russian arms tycoon who had connections at the highest levels of the Kremlin is a major donor to Britain’s ruling Conservative Party and counts himself a friend of the man expected to be the country’s next prime minister.
Alexander Temerko, who forged close ties with the Russian defense ministry and security services in the 1990s, has gifted over £1 million to the Conservatives over the past eight years.
Series - Interviews - Reuters - Special - Report
In a series of interviews detailed in a Reuters Special Report https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/britain-eu-johnson-russian
, he spoke warmly about his “friend” Boris Johnson, the leading Brexit campaigner who is frontrunner to become Britain’s prime minister in a party leadership contest next week.
Temerko, who revealed himself to be a supporter of Johnson’s bid to lead Britain out of the EU, described how the two men sometimes call each other “Sasha”, the Russian diminutive for Alexander, which is Johnson’s real first name.
Beginning - Johnson - Tenure - Secretary - Plot
He recalled how, at the beginning of Johnson’s 2016-18 tenure as foreign secretary, they would often “plot” late into the evening over a bottle of wine on the balcony of Johnson’s office at parliament.
The insights into Temerko’s former ties with the Moscow government of Vladimir Putin, and his present involvement in UK politics, come at a time when some MPs worry about possible Russian interference in British democracy.
Opposition - Labour - Ben - Bradshaw - MP
Opposition parliamentarian Labour Ben Bradshaw, who was the first MP to raise concerns about potential Kremlin interference in the 2016 Brexit referendum, said Reuters’ findings were “extremely troubling”. Moscow denies such interference.
Johnson’s press secretary Lee Cain didn’t respond to repeated requests for comment. The Conservative Party said only that “donations to the Conservative Party are properly and transparently declared to the Electoral Commission, published by them, and fully comply with the law”.
Temerko - £1 - Amount
Temerko, who is in his 50s, has donated the £1 million – a significant amount...
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