Tory leadership favourite Dominic Raab has netted £73,000 in donations from financiers linked to tax havens.
The no-deal Brexit advocate, who is thought to be eyeing a run at the Conservative Party’s top job, has pocketed more than £127,000 since January, the MPs’ register of interests reveals.
The donations include £29,000 for a staff member in Raab’s office from the IPGL hedge fund, which is owned by ex-Tory treasurer Michael Spencer. Spencer’s hedge fund was named in the Paradise Papers in connection with a subsidiary based in Bermuda.
Spencer was nominated for a peerage in 2016 by then prime minister David Cameron, but the Cabinet Office reportedly blocked the appointment over the role of his private equity firm ICAP in the rate-fixing Libor scandal.
Private banking group Arbuthnot donated £44,000 to Raab’s office. The bank’s owner Henry Angest is also named in the Paradise Papers in connection with a subsidiary of his bank based in Barbados. Overall, Angest has donated nearly £7m to the Conservative Party.
Labour MP Steph Peacock said the top Tory was “filling coffers with donations from the super rich” to prepare for his leadership bid while austerity was wreaking havoc, adding: “It’s about time he started putting ordinary people’s jobs before his own.”
Richard Brooks, co-founder of the pro-second referendum group For Our Future’s Sake, added: “Dominic Raab is the epitome of the Brexit elite.
“Well-cushioned and isolated from any of the impacts his disastrous policies would bring. Nobody voted in 2016 to turn Britain into a deregulated tax haven but that is just what so many now pushing hard for a no deal Brexit want.”
In recent weeks, Raab has also received £10,000 each from Carpetright owner and Vote Leave donor Lord Harris and from Dominic Burke, chief executive of insurance firm Jardine Lloyd Thompson (JLT).
In March, Raab received £20,000 from Toby Ward, the head of JLT subsidiary Hayward Aviation, and £6,480 worth of communications advice from Melior Advisers.
All of the donations were declared in line with parliamentary regulations.
A source close to Raab told HuffPost UK the donations signalled Raab was a serious contender for the leadership.
“Dom is attracting some of the biggest Conservative donors, they feel we need real change. They also feel he is the only contender who could win across MPs, members and in the country.
“He’s the unity candidate. The smart money is on Raab.”
Raab’s donations were dwarfed by that of his rival Boris Johnson.
The former foreign secretary, also regarded as a future leader, has raked in more than £160,000 in donations and speaking fees since January.
Updates to MPs’ register of interests show Johnson was handed £16,000 by manufacturer JCB - adding to a previous £29,000 from the firm.
He also made £38,250 in just two and a half hours speaking for Citigroup Global Markets Ltd and £122,900 pounds from New Delhi-based Living Media India Ltd to give a speech to the India Today conference, swelling his war chest for any leadership battle.
May has signalled that she will stand down as leader once the first phase of Brexit is complete.
Many Tory MPs have been calling for the PM to leave, however, after disastrous local election results last week saw the party lose some 1,300 seats.