'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."

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
News
news
Life and Style
Jack Cooksey goes for the grand unveiling - moments before dropping his new iPhone 6 on the floor
iphone launch
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
football
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

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

Senior BA - Motor and Home Insurance

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£55 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: We are looking to recruit two ...

Primary supply teachers required in Ipswich

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Primary teachers requ...

Science Technician

£50 - £60 per day: Randstad Education Preston: A school in Preston require a S...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week