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Top Tory calls for police investigation into ‘sexual blackmail allegation’ by party donor against female ex-MP

Tycoon Mohamed Amersi accused of ‘criminal harassment’ of former Conservative MP Charlotte Leslie

Simon Walters
Thursday 29 February 2024 01:17 GMT
Margaret Hodge speaks out on Tory donor Mohamed Amersi intimidation claims

A Tory tycoon in a “cash for access” controversy accused a female ex-MP of attempted “sexual blackmail,” according to a former Cabinet minister.

Conservative MP Sir David Davis called for a police investigation into businessman and Tory donor Mohamed Amersi for the possible “criminal harassment” of former Bristol MP Charlotte Leslie.

Using parliamentary legal protection, Sir David also accused Mr Amersi of a “misogynistic hate campaign” against Ms Leslie on social media.

Multi-millionaire Tory donor Mohamed Amersi and his partner Nadejda Roditcheva (Stephen Pover/Shutterstock)

He also claimed Mr Amersi had tried to “intimidate” former Labour minister Dame Margaret Hodge.

In a wide-ranging attack, Sir David said multi-millionaire Mr Amersi was a “shady fixer for corrupt politicians” who had made his fortune by “facilitating corrupt deals for dictatorships and autocracies” including Russia.

Mr Amersi, along with his Russian partner Nadejda Roditcheva, has given £750,000 to the Tories (Dave J Hogan/Getty)

And he claimed Mr Amersi’s libel lawyers, Carter Ruck, had committed “perjury” by “lying” about how much Mr Amersi had spent on his failed lawsuit against Ms Leslie.

Mr Amersi responded on Tuesday night by calling Sir David a “biased bully, coward and liar” and denied the allegations in their entirety. He also challenged Sir David to repeat them outside the Commons debating chamber, where he would not have legal immunity.

Nigel Tait, managing partner of Carter Ruck rejected Sir David’s claim. Mr Tait told The Independent: “The judge found that Mr Amersi had misremembered his costs. There was no suggestion of any perjury.”

Former Bristol MP Charlotte Leslie (PA)

Sir David’s comments come after a High Court judge threw out a libel action by Mr Amersi against former Conservative MP Charlotte Leslie last year.

Mr Amersi, who along with his Russian partner Nadejda Roditcheva has given £750,000 to the Tories and backed Boris Johnson’s leadership, claimed he had been defamed by Ms Leslie in a secret dossier.

They fell out in 2020 after she claimed he tried to use his wealth to take over a Tory group run by her which aims to boost UK-Middle East relations.

He also donated more than £1m to King Charles’ favourite charities, leading to him dining with the then-heir to the throne.

Mohamed Amersi and King Charles, who was then the Prince of Wales (Amersi Foundation)

Philanthropist Mr Amersi defended his conduct as “access capitalism” and has always vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

Sir David castigated Mr Amersi for the way he had fought his battle with Ms Leslie.

Mr Amersi’s “campaign against her went far beyond the (legal) case itself - he set out to destroy her reputation,” he said.

“There were lies that she sexually blackmailed men, the collection of intimate details about her family, physical intimidation.

“And an obsessive, misogynistic and ultimately defamatory hate campaign on social media by Amersi himself.”

Sir David said Mr Amersi “is deeply immersed in a twilight world of backroom bribes”.

“This is why he was so desperate to suppress Ms Leslie’s claims,” he added. “He did not want to be exposed and have his carefully crafted public image – that of a savvy entrepreneur and generous philanthropist – shredded.

“Amersi clearly hoped he could break Ms Leslie’s resolve and force her to concede through bullying, intimidation, and the threat of financial ruin. He failed.

“He put Charlotte Leslie through years of torture in what may have amounted to criminal harassment.”

Sir David said Mr Amersi, 63, had earned £7 million a year for a Swedish-based telecoms firm and had “aided and enriched regimes that resembled a shopping list of dictatorships and autocracies”.

They included Russia and post Soviet states like Uzbekistan.

“Amersi facilitated corrupt deals. The repeat nature of the murky practices involved is striking,” said Sir David.

Mr Amersi had “attempted to buy his way into the British establishment - and worryingly he has had some success. He has managed to recast himself as a philanthropist and benefactor, rather than the shady political fixer for corrupt politicians that he really is”.

He would do “whatever he can to get influence.. and clearly, the British establishment is vulnerable.

“There is a green-eyed gullibility at the top of society, with institutions happy to hoover up cash without asking questions.”

Sir David’s dramatic Commons intervention followed a separate clash between Mr Amersi and Dame Margaret Hodge.

The BBC reported on Tuesday that she has written to the Metropolitan Police and Electoral Commission calling on them to investigate whether the Conservative Party had broken election rules by taking a £200,000 donation from his partner, Ms Roditcheva.

Dame Margaret said fresh details of the donation shortly before the 2017 election had emerged in a new book, ‘Cuckooland,’ by investigative journalist Tom Burgis.

She said Mr Amersi had offered to make a donation and had been advised by Tory HQ that the money should come from his partner’s account because he was not on the electoral register.

Dame Margaret told BBC Newsnight: “The Conservative Party may have knowingly taken a donation from a non permissible person.

“Mr Amersi at the time was not on the electoral register. And if you aren’t on the electoral register you aren’t allowed to give donations. If his money was transferred to a third party that is also non permissible. That is a very serious matter.”

The Conservatives said they only accept money from permissible sources.

Mr Amersi said no rules had been broken and that the money came from his partner’s account. He accused Dame Margaret of a “politically motivated vendetta” against him.

When Sir David criticised Mr Amersi in parliament in the past, the businessman responded by calling the Tory grandee a “liar, coward and bully”.

In the High Court judgment last year Mr Justice Nicklin threw out Mr Amersi’s libel case against Ms Leslie, saying he had “failed to prove serious harm” had been inflicted on him by her. It was hailed as a “landmark victory” by press freedom campaigners.

She sent a dossier which raised questions about Mr Amersi’s past business links Russia to a handful of senior Tories and figures in the intelligence services. Mr Amersi claimed her “dodgy dossier” contained false information which damaged his reputation.

After Sir David’s attack in the Commons, Mr Amersi said: “David Davis made another misinformed rant against me in favour of Leslie and to promote Burgis’s book.

“For the record I repeat what I had previously said: By using parliamentary privilege, Davis has bullied and lied about the true facts. If he has any substantive proof about what he alleges, please say it to me outside. Do not be a coward.

“Every deal undertaken had magic circle advisors and blue chip banks. I deny in the strongest terms any and all allegations.

“All the deals have been the subject of review by various enforcement agencies around the world and no wrongdoing on my part was established.”

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