Businessman who gave £2m to Lib Dems goes on the run

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A businessman whose company gave the Liberal Democrats more than £2m has gone on the run weeks before going on trial for fraud. Michael Brown, 42, was due to stand trial in September accused of fraud and money-laundering, but a judge at Southwark Crown Court issued an arrest warrant yesterday after he breached his bail. The Glasgow-born businessman, who lives in Hampstead, north-west London, formally denied all the charges at a hearing in June. The theft charges are believed to relate to his trading company 5th Avenue Partners. Brown was at the centre of controversy after it emerged he bankrolled the Liberal Democrats' last general election campaign despite not being registered to vote.