The husband of one of the conservative partys biggest donors received funding from a russian tycoon with alleged links to the kremlin, according to leaked bank documents.
The husband of lyubov chernukhin reportedly received 6m from a company linked to suleiman kerimov, a russian billionaire and politician who the us placed under sanctions in 2018 citing his links to the kremlin.
The story was first reported by the bbc as part of a cache of 2,500 suspicious activity reports sent by banks to us authorities between 2007 and 2017 that were leaked to buzzfeed news.
Vladimir chernukhin, who served as russias deputy finance minister under vladimir putin between 2000 and 2002, was sent the sum in 2016 from a british virgin islands company tied to mr kerimov, according to a filing by deutsche bank.
Mr kerimov did not immediately respond to a request for comment. but lawyers for mr kerimov told the bbc he denied all the allegations and had no dealings with ms chernukhin whatsoever.
The chernukhins could not immediately be reached for comment but their lawyers told the broadcaster mrs chernukhin had never received money deriving from mr kerimov or any company related to him, adding that her donations to the conservative party have never been tainted by kremlin or any other influence.
Ms chernukhin has donated 1.7m to the conservative party since 2012 and has been photographed with prime minister boris johnson as well as his two predecessors. she notably paid 160,000 to participate in a tennis match between mr johnson and then-prime minister david cameron.
Mr kerimov, who holds a moscow-issued diplomatic passport was named as russias richest man by forbes last month with a net worth estimated at $25bn. he made his initial fortune through stakes in kremlin-controlled companies gazprom and sberbank. his family now controls russia's largest gold producer.he has been a member of russias upper house of parliament since 2008, and wassanctioned by the us treasury in 2018 for being an official of the government of the russian federation. the move was part of measures by washington against various russian politicians and businessmen that it said were imposed to punish moscow for a range of malign activity around the globe.
The tycoon is one of dozens of men who managed to acquire stakes in formerly state-controlled industrialassets after the collapse of the soviet union often using loans provided by government-run banks amid russia's chaotic embrace of capitalism which were then sold on for large profits.
Some senior conservatives have long worried about russian money in westminster particularly given the johnson governments hardline stance towards russia.
There is a fear among senior tories that this is the tip of an iceberg they have worried about it for a long time, said a well-placed party official about donations from individuals with links to the kremlin.
One senior tory backbencher said, it all looks really bad, but we have engaged in this because there is so much money and the party needs it. but i expect theres a lot more to come out about donations from certain individuals.
A spokesperson for the conservative party said there are people in this country of russian origin who are british citizens and have the democratic right to donate to a political party. many have been vocal critics of putin and it is completely wrong and discriminatory to smear them all with the same brush.