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British legislator admits fundraising 'mistake'

British legislator admits fundraising 'mistake'

A senior member of Britain's opposition Conservatives acknowledged Monday that it had been a mistake for him to discuss a possible party donation with Russian aluminum tycoon Oleg Deripaska.
It is an extremely sensitive topic because soliciting or accepting political donations from people who are not registered to vote in Britain is a violation of British law.
George Osborne, who holds the opposition party's top economic post, has been heavily criticized over his role in the fundraising scandal. It became public earlier this month after a former friend, banking heir Nat Rothschild, accused him of seeking a donation from the Russian.
Osborne told a British Broadcasting Corp. radio show Monday that he had not asked for or received any money, but conceded "it didn't look very good" to talk about a 50,000 pound ($77,000) donation with Deripaska.
However, Osborne denied Rothschild's account of the meeting and said it was Rothschild who brought up the possible donation.
The men also reportedly discussed whether it might be possible for Deripaska to make a contribution channeled through one of his British companies.
Osborne was a guest of Rothschild on the Greek island of Corfu when he had several meetings with Deripaska, including one on the Queen K, the Russian's yacht.
"If I am absolutely honest this didn't look very good, and I regret that," he said. "I think the real judgment is can you learn from mistakes you make. I have changed the way that I am going to operate when it comes to fundraising and I will not discuss individual donations with individual donors."
The scandal has also threatened the return of Labour Party mainstay Peter Mandelson to the Cabinet in a new position as business secretary.
Mandelson has also been criticized for meeting with Deripaska on Corfu while he was serving as the European Union's trade commissioner and dealing with tariffs the could affect the Russian's business interests.


Updated : 2021-05-11 13:33 GMT+08:00