Tory director of trading giant says he is 'concerned' by scandal

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Lord Strathclyde, the Conservative leader in the House of Lords who is a director of Trafigura's hedge fund, said last night he was concerned by the company's activities in west Africa and was "making enquiries" about the events that led to the dumping of toxic waste from one of its ships.

The senior Tory peer, who is a non-executive director of Galena Asset Management, a fund which manages Trafigura's investments earned from its commodities trading, insisted he had no direct involvement with the daily business of the oil trader.

But controversy surrounding Trafigura, which this week agreed to a multimillion-pound compensation deal for thousands of people who fell ill after contaminated sludge was fly-tipped in the Ivory Coast, prompted Lord Strathclyde to concede he was seeking further information about the incident in 2006.

In a statement, the peer said: "I've read today's stories about Trafigura with concern and I am making enquiries about the situation. I have never been employed by Trafigura, nor have I ever received any fee for any service provided to them. I do not sit on their board nor do I advise them on any aspect of their business."

Galena, which is wholly owned by Trafigura, is based at the oil trader's office in Marble Arch, central London, but Lord Strathclyde said the two businesses were run separately and the hedge fund was not involved with the allegations made against its parent company. He added that he had already announced he would be resigning from his non-parliamentary business roles by early next year.

The peer is not the only senior Conservative with links to Trafigura. Peter Fraser QC, a former minister and member of the Lords, was appointed by the oil company following the 2006 pollution incident to produce an independent report on the affair. Publication of the report has been postponed until legal proceedings involving Trafigura have concluded.