Top Tory donor linked to five firms listed in the Panama Papers

A Tory donor that has given over a quarter of a million to the party is linked to five offshore businesses in the Panama Papers.

A Tory donor that has given over a quarter of a million to the party is linked to five offshore businesses in the Panama Papers.

Christopher Harborne has donated a total of £266,388 to the Conservative Party since 2001, most recently donating £50,000 in January, making him one of the party’s most generous donors.

The businessman is linked to a total of five companies in the Panama Papers, each of which lists him as an “intermediary” under his full name Christopher Charles Sherriff Harborne.

He is named as the chief executive of two of those businesses in a vanity profile produced by “this is about”, a paid-for service that promises to “interview you and create your online narrative and visual presence”. Both businesses deal in aviation: AML Global in aviation fuel and Sherriff Group in the sale of private aircraft, such as this 1997 Gulfstream V worth up to $12 million.

His role in the other three businesses listed in the Panama Papers – Pacific Shore Investments, Elizabethan Global Investments and Crowshott Farm Holdings – is unclear.

Curiously, Harborne is also listed as a director of Bangkok-based investment company Seamico Securities, complete with a photo and list of his other business interests, but under a completely different name. Harborne appears in two official documents from the company as Mr Chakrit Sakunkrit.

Managing a total of six businesses with two distinct personalities must prove to be a challenge for Mr Harborne, despite boasting that his work “requires an immense cognitive load” that “most people are not prepared to engage”. It is that kind of insight that has led him to declare that “people imagine that mining the seabed is bad for the environment, but it is actually hugely positive”.

There is no suggestion that Mr Harborne (Mr Sakunkrit) has acted illegally.

With a number of Tory donors, MPs and peers already linked to offshore companies, there is rising pressure on Theresa May to crack down on Britain’s network of tax havens.

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