“Tories covered up cash donations from Zac Goldsmith”

So says the Sunday Times:

The Conservative party hid donations of £40,000 from Zac Goldsmith, his brother Ben and two billionaire brothers in an apparent breach of the law.

The donations were recorded on official records as coming from Unicorn Administration, an intermediary company which helps run the finances of the super-rich.

But The Sunday Times has discovered that they in fact came from Zac Goldsmith, his brother Ben, and Ben’s wife Kate Rothschild…

This weekend Lord Oakeshott, the Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman, said he would write to the Electoral Commission calling for an inquiry into the apparent breach of electoral law.

He questioned whether the registration of the donations by a proxy donor was due to error. “Back-door gifts through front companies blatantly break the spirit of the law on cleaning up Britain’s moneybags politics,” he said.

“If the Conservative party have nothing to hide, why not declare straight out they’re [Goldsmith’s] thousands instead of using the cover of Unicorn Administration? It is hard to see how these can be simple errors.”

You can read the full story here.

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  • This has surely assured Susan a well-deserved victory in May

  • BBC has the story as well as an admission of “an administrative error” but they would say that wouldn’t they. I doubt CCO is so incompetent as to not check where donations come from, considering the number of donations that get forfeited under electoral commission rules, you would expect some checks to have been made.

  • Malcolm Todd 10th Jan '10 - 11:34am

    To be honest, I struggle to see what advantage the Tories could have been seeking from doing this on purpose. It seems all the actual donors were legitimate donors, and according to the BBC story they have all been declared as donors in their own right as well. Fun though it is to poke sticks at Torychimps, I suspect it was a genuine error.

    considering the number of donations that get forfeited under electoral commission rules

    Do a lot of donations get forfeited? I’d be interested to know the numbers.

  • So, Goldsmith has received funding from the Rothschild side of his family. No surprise there. What of the Fitzalan-Howard side?

  • Goldsmith has form – see all the other postings about his financial affairs.

  • Zac Goldsmith has said this today.

    Zac Goldsmith fights back at Sunday Times
    In response to this morning’s front page story in The Sunday Times, Zac Goldsmith has sent ConservativeHome this statement:

    What’s going on at the Sunday Times?

    The Sunday Times has run an amazing article on its front page today, titled: “Tories covered up donations from Zac Goldsmith” and then “Conservatives in cash cover-up”.

    The paper has created a damaging headline, and then uses its lengthy article to explain why the headline is totally unjustified, and why the story is a non-story. The Times already knows very well that there has been no cover up, no attempt at a cover up, and no possible reason for a cover up.

    The article says that donations were made to the Conservative Party by a company called Unicorn Administration on behalf of some of its clients. That’s true. It says that the cheques had the names of the people for whom the donations were being written clearly on the top. It even states that “There is no suggestion that any of the donors or Unicorn acted improperly.”

    So the paper accepts that there was no attempt made by me or any other donor to ‘hide behind’ a company.

    Where then is the story that justifies this screaming front-page headline? The only issue is that the Conservative Party failed to register the donations under the name of Unicorn’s clients. But given that all of the clients in question are known Conservative Party donors, what possible reason would the Party have for wanting to ‘cover-up’ their identity?

    At worst, it can only have been a minor administrative error by the Conservative Party compliance department. Perhaps the Times and its friends in the Lib Dem Attack Unit can come up with a motive? I can’t.

  • Of course the Green Party has benefited from Zac and Ben Goldsmith, they know if you vote Green you get Blue

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