Lib Dem donor arrested as part of Serious Fraud Office investigation

The Financial Times reports:

A prominent Indian backer of the UK Liberal Democrat party and his son were the two suspects arrested earlier this week in connection with an investigation into allegations of bribery by Rolls-Royce. Sudhir Choudhrie and his son Bhanu were arrested on Wednesday as part of the Serious Fraud Office’s investigation into alleged bribery in Indonesia and China by the engine and turbine maker. …

A spokesman for the Choudhries confirmed that the pair had been arrested. The pair deny all wrongdoing and are co-operating fully with the investigation, he said. They were granted bail without conditions after being questioned for “several hours” at Snow Hill police station in London, he added. …

Sudhir Choudhrie, who was born in India but lives in Chelsea in London, is a key donor to the Liberal Democrat party. Bhanu is the chief executive of the family business C&C Alpha Group, which runs UK care homes through a subsidiary. C&C Alpha Group has since 2010 donated about £500,000 to the Liberal Democrats, junior members of the ruling coalition, according to the Electoral Commission’s website.

The last time Sudhir Choudhrie’s name came up on LibDemVoice was in June 2013, when (according to a Sunday Times report which has since turned out to be pretty accurate) he was apparently dropped from Nick Clegg’s list of new Lib Dem peers because of concerns about his tax status.

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  • In the June. 2013 piece StephenTall wrote —
    ” — the party needs to devise a more transparent system for nominating its own peers.
    That can’t be 100% internal democracy — not everyone who’d make a good working peer will stand for election or would get elected if they did; and it would be unlikely to be a very diverse list, either — but it needs to be more than a nod-and-a-wink from the leader’s office as well. ”

    To me 100% internal democracy looks like a much better option than the bags of cash cronyism that Tim Razzall made reference to in a recent BBC Radio 4 interview. Nick Clegg might like to reflect on his own personal involvement in this sort of thing.

  • Tony Greaves 15th Feb '14 - 12:50am

    There is a current inquiry in the party into the nomination of peers. This issue needs revisiting since the vision of an elected Upper House seems to have receded into the far distance again.

    (Declaring a very past interest) I suggest that the “Interim Peers Panel” was a better way of doing things than the present system since by its nature it excluded large donors unknown to activists in the party. The nominations have also stood the test of time. There has always been quite a large elected list for the leader to choose from, and given the present number of nominations the flexibility for the leader to add people could be increased a bit.

    12-14 years ago most of the nominations came from the Panel. In the past 5 years it has been largely ignored which seems to be a cynical position for the party to be in.

    Okay: here is the list from 2000 – the first after the election of the first Panel. I make no claim for myself but I suggest that the rest of the list has stood the test of time even if the diversity balance could have been better (and I think would be now). Jamie Erskine (the Earl of Mar and Kellie), Tony Greaves, Lindsay Northover, Matthew Oakeshott, Rupert Redesdale, John Roper, Ros Scott, David Shutt, Joan Walmsley.

    Jamie was not on the elected Panel – he was a returning hereditary. Of the rest, the list includes a current government minister (whip), two former Chief Whips (one of them Government Deputy Chief Whip for much of this parliament, the other a former Chair of the important European Committee of the Lords), a recent President of the party, and the just elected present Convenor (ie Chair) of the Liberal Democrat party in the Lords. And lots of party spokespersons/co-chairs. I would claim that all of us have done more than our fair share of work in the Lords in the past 14 years.


  • David Blake 15th Feb '14 - 6:37am

    I see it’s on the BBC now:

  • Will the lib dems return the donation if the Choudries are convicted?

  • David Blake 15th Feb '14 - 8:25am
  • AC Trussell 15th Feb '14 - 9:43am

    “Will the lib dems return the donation if the Choudries are convicted?”

    Will the tax man return any money he’s paid? Will the energy companies return any money he’s paid? Will Sainsburys ( if he shops there) return any money he’s paid? Plus many more- I don’t think so.

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