Wife of former Russian minister made huge donations to dine with Scottish Tory leader and UK defence secretary
RUTH DAVIDSON “is leaving herself open to charges of the very worst sort of hypocrisy”, SNP MSP Gillian Martin has said, following reports that the wife of expat Russian oligarch Vladimir Chernukin paid £20,000 to dine with the Scottish Tory leader in Edinburgh.
Lubov Chernukin, a banker and the wife of former Russian deputy finance minister Vladimir Chernukin, was revealed over the weekend to have made substantial donations to the Conservative Party at the party’s annual Black and White fundraising ball.
According to numerous outlets, the Tories accepted £30,000 from Chernukin in order to dine with UK Government defence secretary Gavin Williamson, who will reportedly provide her with a private tour of Churchill’s War Rooms in Whitehall.
It was also alleged that, on a previous occasion, Chernukin has paid £20,000 to share a meal with Ruth Davidson.
Responding to the recent revelations, Gillian Martin said: “Ruth Davidson is leaving herself open to charges of the very worst sort of hypocrisy.
“She’s happy to claim moral superiority, while at the same time keeping the company of whichever Russian oligarch is offering to swell the Tory party coffers the most. It’s utterly shameless.
“She’s happy to claim moral superiority, while at the same time keeping the company of whichever Russian oligarch is offering to swell the Tory party coffers the most.” SNP MSP Gillian Martin
Martin continued: “The Scottish Tory leader should think long and hard about accepting a political donation from Putin’s pals. If she’s got any sense she should call off her dinner date and hand back the cash.”
Ruth Davidson has previously criticised former first minister Alex Salmond for “taking the Kremlin’s rouble” following the announcement that Salmond would present his own show on the state-funded TV news channel RT.
Chernukin’s status as a Tory party donor previously incited controversy when she paid £160,000 to play a game of tennis with former prime minister David Cameron and current foreign secretary Boris Johnson in 2014. At the time, the Tories were under high public scrutiny regarding their links to New Century Media, a lobbying firm representing numerous Russian clients which donated a quarter of its annual profits to the Conservative Party during the 2010 election campaign.
Vladimir Chernukin, in addition to his former post within the Russian government, was deputy chairman of Russia’s state-owned foreign investment bank until his dismissal in 2004. The Daily Mirror newspaper has reported that the Conservative Party denies Chernukin, now a British citizen, is a “Putin crony”.
The Scottish Tories did not respond to requests for comment at the time of publication.
Picture courtesy of the Scottish Parliament
Look at how important CommonSpace has become, and how vital it is for the future #SupportAReporter