MPs demand ‘cash for conservatives’ investigation in to Tories alleged “dirty money” tricks

03/05/2017
Nathanael Williams

MPs look to the electoral commission to investigate claims of Tory dirty money

MPs Roger Mullin and John Mann have demanded an investigation by the UK Electoral Commission into donations accepted by the Tory party from HBSC and it’s third party partner IPGL Ltd from 2008 to 2016.

The scandal, known as ‘cash for Conservatives’ broke after SNP MP Mullin and Labour MP Mann, worked with anti-corruption groups to uncover what they say are loans being used to gain favourable policy outcomes for the bank and its loaning partner.

They allege this was done through Michael Spencer, the Tory party fundraiser and chairman, who used his holding company IPGL Ltd as a way to ease donations towards the Tory party to fund the 2010 and 2015 General Elections.

Since being in office from 2010, the Tory party has been reluctant to clamp down on tax avoidance or prosecute accusation of money laundering and financial misconduct by HSBC and other major banks. Campaigners argue that the influence of big money has “corrupted” the policy approach to institutions like banks.

The Electoral Commission, when contacted by CommonSpace, said they “would have to receive the physical copy of the letter to make an eventual judgement” on whether or not to hold an investigation.

Read more: Campaigners rail against Tories in ‘cash for conservatives’ scandal 

Writing to the commission Mullin said: “In essence, the allegation which was not refuted was that HSBC loaned to IPGL Ltd over £200m from October 6 of 2008 onwards. The company was in some financial distress. Despite this, it was reported that in excess of £5m of HSBC loans have been laundered directly to Conservative party headquarters.”

Roger Mullin’s letter to the Electoral Commission requesting an investigation

The news emerges at a time when up to 30 Tory MPs are facing possible criminal charges over alleged 2015 election spending fraud, with only 5 weeks until the UK goes to the polls for the 8 June General Election. Opponents of UK Prime Minister Theresa May, whose husband is also facing investigation by the Cabinet office over the possibility he may have profited from trading with access to market sensitive Brexit information held by the prime minister, say she called the early election to avoid losing her government over the mounting scandal.

Speaking to CommonSpace Joel Benjamin, a campaigner for the transparency group Debt Resistance UK, said: “Cash for Conservatives shows just how easy it is for big banks like HSBC to buy off the Tories, who are already being investigated for electoral fraud.

“Michael Spencer’s donations were only made possible through an undeclared HSBC loan. Regulators must get a grip on City dirty money corrupting British politics.”

Picture courtesy of worldoflard

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