Theresa May and Cabinet ministers dined with Russian donors weeks after the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal, including the wife of Vladimir Putin’s former deputy finance minister.
The news comes amid accusations that Theresa May declined a request by one of the security services to investigate Brexit bankroller Arron Banks, who has himself been accused of receiving money from Russian sources.
Lubov Chernukhin and Alexander Temerko dined with Theresa May and Cabinet Ministers including Boris Johnson and Philip Hammond between April and June, just weeks after the poisoning of Sergei Skripal in Salisbury on 4 March.
The dinners are revealed in newly-released records of the Conservative Party’s Leader’s Group of elite donors who pay £50,000 a year to rub shoulders with Ministers at exclusive events.
Lubov Chernukhin is the wife of Vladimir Chernukhin, a man dubbed a “Putin crony” after working for the Russian premier as a deputy finance minister. She has donated nearly £700,000 to the Conservatives since 2012, including £160,000 for a game of tennis with Boris Johnson and £30,000 to dine with Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson at auctions at posh Tory dinners.
Alexander Temerko was vice president of Russian oil giant Yukos before he fled Russia amid accusations of fraud and corruption. Now a British citizen, the millionaire businessman owns two firms offering infrastructure for offshore oil, gas and wind power, one of which employs former Tory MP James Wharton. He has donated nearly £1.2 million to the Conservative Party and its MPs, once buying a bust of David Cameron for £90,000.
Theresa May once promised to cut Conservative ties to Russia, but was accused of breaking those promises at the time of the Salisbury poisoning when it was revealed she had accepted more than £820,000 from donors with links to Russia.
These latest revelations show she has not cut those ties even after it was revealed that Vladimir Putin had unleashed a chemical weapon on the streets of a British town.