Asil Nadir has long been a friend of the Conservative Party. He was one of its biggest donors in the Thatcher era. Indeed, there were those who speculated that the fugitive businessman returned to face trial only because a Tory prime minister was back in Downing Street – that and the fact that 18 potential witnesses had died.
But after Nadir was first charged, another Tory PM, John Major, promised that if his £440,000 in donations to the party proved to be "dishonestly obtained" then they would be returned.
Now, however – with Nadir convicted of stealing £29m, and the trustee in his bankruptcy asking the Tories to give back the cash – the party claims the donation came not from Nadir but from the company he ran, and so need not be returned. Such contortions not only reflect poorly on the Tories, they also only prove, once again, the need for state funding of politics.
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