Russian gives £30,000 to Tories for wine tasting tour at fundraising dinner
- Lubov Chernukhin, 49, successfully bid £30,000 for a wine-tasting tour
- She is the biggest female political donor in British history having given £2.1m
- Her husband Vladimir served as Russia’s deputy finance minister for two years
Lubov Chernukhin, 49, successfully bid £30,000 for a wine-tasting tour that was offered as an auction prize at the event on Monday evening.
The cash takes Mrs Chernukhin’s donations to the Tories to £2.1million – making her the biggest female political donor in British history. This includes £879,000 during Boris Johnson‘s leadership.
Her husband Vladimir served as Russia’s deputy finance minister for two years from 2000 to 2002.
He then became chairman of state-owned investment bank Vnesheconombank, but is said to have fallen out of favour with the Russian president for his loyalty to Mikhail Kasyanov, who was sacked as the country’s prime minister by Putin following a disagreement.
Former investment banker and Conservative party Donor Lubov Chernukhin departs the Victoria and Albert Museum during the Conservative Party Summer Party
Mr Chernukhin was dismissed from his role and left Russia in 2004.
The Conservatives have previously insisted that Mrs Chernukhin, now a British citizen, is not a ‘Putin crony’, but the money will raise fresh questions about its links to Russia.
The banker has been a serial bidder at party fundraising dinners, handing over large sums for auction lots to play tennis with Boris Johnson and David Cameron, and for dinner with Theresa May.
Mrs Chernukhin won her latest auction prize as the Conservatives hosted a summer party at the V&A museum this week. Tickets for the event cost up to £2,000 a head.
The PM gave a speech before guests enjoyed a dinner of salmon tartare, beef and passion fruit meringues along with Louis Roederer champagne.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson departs the Victoria and Albert Museum during the Conservative Party Summer Party
Cabinet ministers in attendance included Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Home Secretary Priti Patel.
Mrs Chernukhin has spoken out against Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, calling in February for ‘the strongest possible sanctions against Putin’s regime and its enablers’.
Last night she declined to comment.
Labour Party chairman Anneliese Dodds said yesterday: ‘People struggling with the cost of living crisis will be appalled that the Tories are yet again pocketing wads of dosh from the wife of a former Russian deputy finance minister at a money-spinning fundraiser. Boris Johnson’s cash-for-access culture knows no bounds.’