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Tory donations 'hypocrisy' after Salisbury attack

By Greg Heffer, political reporter
The Conservative Party has been accused of "sheer hypocrisy" after it was revealed they accepted ?50,000 from a donor with past links to the Kremlin - on the same day Theresa May pointed the finger at Russia over the Salisbury spy poisoning.
In the first three months of the year, the Tories accepted €112,500 in cash from Lubov Chernukhin, the wife of former Russian deputy finance minister Vladimir Chernukhin.According to Electoral Commission records, €100,000 of that money was donated after a military-grade nerve agent was used to attack Sergei and Yulia Skripal on 4 March.On 12 March, the prime minister told MPs it was "highly likely" Moscow was behind the attack. On the same day, the Conservatives accepted €50,000 from Ms Chernukhin.The banker donated a further €50,000 on 20 March, coming after Mrs May had strengthened her claim of Russian culpability for the Salisbury poisoning.She had previously given the Tories €12,500 on 9 January.
Tory donations 'hypocrisy' after Salisbury attack

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Vladimir Chernukhin (l) was appointed chair of a state-run bank by Vladimir Putin
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable claimed the Tories' acceptance of the money was "sheer hypocrisy", telling the Daily Mirror: "The Conservatives should have returned the money straight away. The very least they can do is return this now."Labour Party chairman Ian Lavery said: "It smacks of hypocrisy for Theresa May to accept tens of thousands of pounds from a donor with links to Putin's regime on the same day she denounced the Kremlin over the Salisbury attack."The Tories need to come clean with the public about what checks they have made on the wealth amassed by their super-rich donors."The Conservatives have previously faced criticism for their acceptance of donations from Ms Chernukhin, who lives in London.
She once successfully bid €160,000 at a Tory fundraiser to play tennis with David Cameron and Boris Johnson.Mr Johnson defended that tennis match in the wake of the Salisbury attack, warning against creating a "miasma of suspicion" against all Russians.
Tory donations 'hypocrisy' after Salisbury attack

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Mr Chernukhin served in Vladimir Putin's first presidency between 2000 and 2002 before being appointed chairman of a state-owned bank.However, he is said to have later fallen out of favour with the Russian president for his loyalty to Mikhail Kasyanov, a critic of Mr Putin, and been dismissed from his role, leading the couple to settle in Britain.A Tory source hit back at claims the Chernukhins are "pals" of Mr Putin and said Ms Chernukhin, as a British citizen, "has the right to exercise her democratic rights and donate to a political party".They said: "It is important to remember that there are people in this country who are British citizens and of Russian origin, many of whom are critics of Putin, and it is wrong and discriminatory to tar them all with the same brush."
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"This Conservative Government has been absolutely resolute in standing up to Russian aggression."A Conservative Party spokesman said: "All donations to the Conservative party are properly and transparently declared to the Electoral Commission, published by them, and comply fully with the law."
news.sky.com
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