Thursday, May 25, 2006
LibDems May Have to Repay £2.4 Million Donation
The Electoral Commission has just released the following statement, which will send a shudder down the backs of many a Liberal Democrat...
25 May 2006 - For immediate use
Statement about donations to Liberal Democrats from 5th Avenue Partners Ltd
Following discussions with the City of London Police, the Electoral Commission has decided to await the outcome of the police investigation of the financial affairs of 5th Avenue Partners Limited and its director before considering further whether 5th Avenue Partners Limited’s donations to the Liberal Democrats last year met the tests for donations to political parties by companies. Between February and May 2005, 5th Avenue Partners Limited made donations totalling around £2.4million to the Liberal Democrats. In October 2005 the Commission took the view that, based on all the evidence which the party had, and subject to any further information becoming available, it was reasonable for the party to regard the donations as having been permissible (See Note 2). There is currently an investigation by the City of London Police and separate legal proceedings concerning the financial affairs of 5th Avenue Partners Ltd and its director. It is possible that further information will become available that may be relevant to the issue of whether these donations were permissible. The Commission has therefore decided to await the outcome of the police investigation before considering this matter further, and will be liaising closely with the City of London Police over the coming weeks.
As I understand it, legally, the LibDem members are jointly and severally responsible for paying the money back - which would cost them about £35 each. If I were them I'd be investing in a few begging bowls just in case...
Now, to all those LibDems who accused me of hyping this up and thought it was a 'non story' when I first raised it back in January and February (see HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE) I think you'll have the good grace to accept that this is a serious matter which the Party must now address. Of course, if proper due diligance had been carried out by Lord Razzall on Michael Brown (pic), this sorry state of affairs might have been avoided.