Watchdog to probe Straw donation

Watchdog to probe Straw donation
Watchdog to probe Straw donation

By staff

The Electoral Commission is looking into a complaint about a donation to Jack Straw from a company accused of not trading in Britain.

Tory MP Ben Wallace accused the justice secretary of receiving illegitimate donations for his constituency office in January.

The Lancaster and Wyre MP said Mr Straw's office had received a £2,000 donation from a firm called Westminster International Consultants (WIC), which, according to Mr Wallace, does not do any business in the UK.

"It is my allegation that this company's accounts and behaviour demonstrated that it was not a permissible donor under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000," Mr Wallace wrote to the Electoral Commission.

Earlier this month, Mr Straw, justice secretary, was forced to register a donation from Canatxx which helped fund his 25th anniversary dinner as an MP in 2004.

Mr Straw apologised for its lateness to the Electoral Commission, which is now being asked to investigate the WIC case.

Mr Straw's listing of the donation in the MPs' register of interests states the gift came from
"Mr Siraj Karbhari, Westminster International Consultants" but the founding partner at the firm, Dr Yusef Karbhari, denied it had made a gift and said his brother, Siraj, made the donation in a personal capacity.

Speaking to the Evening Standard from Saudi Arabia, where WIC acts as a property developer, Siraj Karbhari said earlier this year: "I am UK citizen and this was not a foreign donation.

"I made a cheque from one of my companies. I can't recollect which chequebook I used. If they have listed a donation from Westminster, that is a mistake."

The news comes on the same day that Tory MP Derek Conway was rapped by the parliamentary standards committee for paying his son above the normal level for office work.


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