The UK Conservative Party battles against the sleaze that’s oozing out in the wake of the under-cover Sunday Times interview with Tory treasurer Peter Cruddas, now understandably the ex-treasurer. In the interview, Cruddas sets the rates for access to Tory leading lights, mentioning that £250.000 will get you a dinner with Prime Minister David Cameron. A case now called “Cash for Cameron” by the UK media.
Cameron completely denies all this, finds Cruddas’ entrepreneurship on behalf of the party “completely unacceptable.” Having admitted to invited some main donors to dinner, Cameron was forced to publish a list of those favoured with such favours. On the list is the man who was going to be treasurer himself, until he found out he didn’t have the time. That decision might have had something to do with a series of very unflattering articles that the Daily Mail published on him.
But however unflattering Daily Mail’s reporting did no lasting harm to Rowland’s reputation in Downing Street. On Feb. 28 last year, David Rowland and his wife were invited to dinner, together with Baron Andrew Feldman, ennobled by his friend Cameron for whom he has been a diligent fundraiser and now a co-chairman of the Conservative Party. They will most likely have sat in this nicely conservative state room above nr 11 Downing Street and sipped whatever those with conservative leanings sip.
Cruddas pointed out that by paying the £250.000 one would be in the “premier league” and would be listened to. Rowland is way beyond that since his contribution to the party is counted in millions of pounds. So what might he have discussed with Cameron? Apart from the usual, such as too much taxation, Rowland might have talked about the fantastic opportunities he finds in having a bank in Luxembourg and Monaco, a newspaper in Latvia and shares in the Icelandic MP Bank, not to mention Belarus.
Since Belarus has been in the news lately for political repression and horrors, Cameron could have been interested in Rowland’s Belarus venture, the first FDI fund there. At the time, Havilland’s press release was probably still on the Havilland website but it’s now been removed. We don’t know how Cameron’s staff prepared these dinners but most likely Cameron was more listening than questioning. After all, Rowland and other guests did quite a bit to bring Cameron to Downing Street and critical questions might have been as unacceptable as Cameron thought Cruddas’ fundraising initiative.
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