Oligarch backs David Cameron over lobbying scandal

Oligarch backs his ‘friend’ David Cameron: Russian Tory donor who once bought bronze bust of former Prime Minister supports him over lobbying scandal

  • Ex-arms tycoon Alexander Temerko described ex-Prime Minister as his ‘friend’
  • He said fallout from the scandal showed why ‘business councils’ needed in UK
  • Tories previously came under fire for the party’s close links to Russian oligarchs 

A Russian oligarch Tory donor who once bought a bronze bust of David Cameron has given his backing to the embattled former prime minister.

Ex-arms tycoon Alexander Temerko described Mr Cameron as his ‘friend’ and said he had been trying to ‘provide a voice for business’.

He said the fallout from the Greensill-Liberty Steel scandal demonstrated why ‘business councils’ are needed in the UK – and said the former PM should lead them.

Ex-arms tycoon Alexander Temerko described Mr Cameron as his ‘friend’ and said he had been trying to ‘provide a voice for business’

The support of the controversial businessman – a prominent Tory donor and party member – may do little to help Mr Cameron’s cause.

The party under Mr Cameron came under fire for its close links to Russian oligarchs and triggered concerns about the Russian influence over British politics. 

In quotes sent to the Mail, Mr Temerko said of the Greensill case: ‘Recently, my friend David Cameron has been scrutinised by the media for providing a voice for business, aimed at the Government.

‘In my view, the Greensill-Liberty Steel case has shown us above all that in fact, it is inordinately difficult for even major businesses to express their concerns and connect with the Government.’

He complained that there was no ‘proper’ mechanism for businesses to lobby ministers, adding: ‘As such, it is no surprise that they try to engage with Government through ad hoc avenues.’ 

The former oil and arms executive was granted political asylum in the UK in 2004 and became a prominent businessman.

Mr Temerko once bought a bust of Mr Cameron for £90,000, which went to the Tory party

He was a junior defence minister in Russia but left the country after president Vladimir Putin took control of the oil firm he worked for. He says he has cut ties with Russia and now holds only a UK passport.

The oligarch and companies he is connected to have donated at least £1.3million to the Conservatives.

He once bought a bust of Mr Cameron for £90,000, which went to the party. He is also a member of the Tories’ donor club, The Leader’s Group.

Last month he took joint control of a company seeking to build a £1.2billion underwater power cable from Portsmouth to France.

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