'Very polished' rough diamond Peter Cruddas joins Tory treasury team

New Conservative co-treasurer is a philanthropist who made his fortune brokering deals

Peter Cruddas, the latest multimillionaire to take on the role of co-treasurer of the Conservative Party, is the son of a Smithfield meat porter who made a fortune by being among the first to spot how the internet could be used to broker deals.

He made a successful political debut as co-treasurer and the biggest individual donor to the well-funded and successful No2AV campaign, to which he gave £400,000.

He has also been a lavish donor to the Conservative Party. He gave it £100,000 in the last quarter of 2010. He gave another £50,000 in the first week of last year's general election campaign. In total he is believed to have given the Tories £350,000.

At Conservative headquarters, they will be hoping that Mr Cruddas lasts in his new role longer than his putative predecessor, David Rowland, a billionaire property tycoon who agreed to take over in September last year. The announcement generated such a storm of controversy that in August Mr Rowland suddenly discovered he had too many business commitments and pulled out.

Mr Rowland lived abroad to avoid tax until 2009, and reportedly used exotic tax havens for his business dealings. His appointment by David Cameron was opposed both by Lord Ashcroft, another well-known former tax exile who served as deputy chairman of the Conservatives, and the former treasurer Michael Spencer.

Mr Cruddas also lived for several years in a tax haven favoured by the super-rich. He was one of the City's "Monaco boys", living in an apartment on the Avenue de Spélugues near Monte Carlo's famous casino. From there, it took him only an hour and 40 minutes to commute to work via London's City airport.

While he was in Monaco, Mr Cruddas paid UK tax on some of his income, though at a lower rate than if he had been in the UK. He has been domiciled in Britain for tax purposes for the past two years.

It is thought unlikely that any personal scandal will emerge to prevent him taking office. David Buik, of the City firm BGC Partners, said: "I can't believe for a single moment that the Conservative Party hasn't done a thorough check to make sure there are no skeletons in his closet. He is a really polished rough diamond, who has done very well. I have never heard anybody with an adverse thing to say about him."

Mr Cruddas, who left school at 15, has risen to be one of the wealthiest men in the City and a philanthropist whose declared ambition is to give away £100m to charities that help children from backgrounds similar to his own. The money is dispersed through the Peter Cruddas Foundation, which is chaired by the former Tory cabinet minister Lord Young. He is also the largest individual donor to the Duke of Edinburgh International Awards Association and a board member of the Prince's Trust.

He attributes his early success to the Boy Scouts, who taught him self-discipline and self-confidence. On his foundation's website, he wrote: "The Boy Scouts enabled me to escape a violent home situation and the inner city. I sincerely believe that I would not be where I am today had I not become a member."

In 1989, he was the head foreign exchange dealer at a City bank when he left to set up his own business, with £10,000 in the bank. The firm, CMC Markets, is like a bookmaker for the city, enabling dealers to place bets mainly on foreign currency movements.

It made £17.2m on a £152m turnover in 2009-10 and is now reckoned to be worth around £710m. Goldman Sachs bought 10 per cent of it for a reputed £140m a year before the banking crisis. Mr Cruddas and his family own 88 per cent.

With his other assets, it is reckoned that Mr Cruddas's personal wealth is around £750m. In one interview, he announced: "I've got a £10m apartment in Monaco, a £5m house in England, another fantastic house in Antibes, a yacht and a private jet." He has also been known to show off a £200,000 platinum watch, claiming that he owns 15 more.

He will now share the task of fundraising for the Conservative Party with his fellow co-treasurer, Lord Fink, the so-called "father" of the British hedge fund industry.

Lord Fink said: "I am delighted that Peter is joining as co-treasurer of the Conservative Party and I greatly look forward to working with him in the coming years."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
film
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
News
peopleWarning - contains a lot of swearing
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: On behalf of a successful academy i...

Investigo: Finance Business Partner

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in providing ...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - West London

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: WEST LONDON - An excellent new opportunity wit...

Recruitment Genius: Florist Shop Manager

£8 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A Florist Shop Manager is required to m...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project