Zac Goldsmith facing parliamentary probe over claims he delayed declaring £120,000 in donations from rich friends

Exclusive: Conservative MP investigated over claims he didn't declare donations until five days before he announced his candidacy for Mayor of London

The multi-millionaire Tory candidate to be Mayor of London is facing an investigation by Parliament’s sleaze watchdog over claims that he delayed revealing thousands of pounds worth of donations from rich society friends and family to the Commons authorities, The Independent can reveal. 

Kathryn Hudson, the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner, is looking into allegations the Zac Goldsmith omitted to declare donations totalling over £120,000 from the Register of Members Interests.

Thirty of the donations – some of which had been given as long ago as 2010 – were only registered with Commons authorities in June five days before he announced he would run to be the Conservative mayoral candidate.

Under Parliamentary rules MPs are required to register within 28 days any change in their “registrable interests”.

Some of the donations, which were correctly registered with the Electoral Commission, are likely to prove embarrassing to the Goldsmith campaign.

Among them was £2,000 from Beatrice Tollman - a businesswoman whose husband was convicted of tax fraud in the United States. 

Ms Tollman herself was charged with conspiracy to evade millions of dollars’ worth of tax in the US, charges that were dismissed by a judge in 2008.

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Mr Goldsmith is accused of only declaring donations - some of which go back to 2010 - until four days before he announced his candidacy for Mayor of London (Getty Images)

The charges were dropped on the same day her husband, Stanley Tollman, pleaded guilty by agreement to a single count of tax evasion and agreed to pay more than $105 million to the US authorities in back taxes and penalties. 

Mr Goldsmith’s agent said he was unaware of the donor’s history but was handing back the money after being made aware of her backstory by The Independent in June last year.

Mr Goldsmith’s mother Lady Annabel Goldsmith also gave her son nearly £30,000 – some of which was also not declared to the Parliamentary authorities for four years.

Among the other donation not reported were those from members of the Aspinall family and Robin Birley who used to own the Ivy Restaurant and recently opened high society members club 5 Hertford Street.

The investigation follows a complaint by the Labour MP Neil Coyle who claimed there were “serious omissions and irregularities in Zac Goldsmith’s register of parliamentary interests”.

“It appears that Goldsmith has failed to correctly declare well over £120,000 of donations with some not registered with Parliament for over four years. These donations might be considered small change by Goldsmith, but there shouldn’t be one rule for the former non-dom and another for everyone else,” he said.

“Goldsmith has been investigated before by the Electoral Commission over exceeding spending limits during election campaigns and I believe a full investigation into these new revelations is required to get to the bottom of what looks like major breaches of Parliamentary rules.” 

A spokeswoman for the Goldsmith campaign said: “We will be complying with the Standards Commissioner in due course.”

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