We called Goldman Sachs on Wednesday (when the political donation figures came out for the end of 2007) to ask if the Michael Sherwood who gave the Tories £8,500 in November was the same Michael Sherwood who is European co-chief executive of the ubiquitous US bank. The answer was no.
They’ve called back to admit they were wrong. It was the very same Mr Sherwood, said a spokesman from the bank. But the money was paid for tickets to a Tory event by Mr Sherwood and his wife and should have been recorded as £4,250 each. As a result the banker should not have ended up on the Electoral Commission website, which records donations of £5,001 and over. (Although the spokesman did not know if he paid for both tickets, in which case the figure should be in the public eye.)
Goldman has been advising the government on its options for a private sale of Northern Rock, although Mr Sherwood was not directly involved in the negotiations. “He is politically non-aligned,” said the bank.
And just in case you missed it in our story last week, another interesting new Tory donor was Hugh Scott-Barrett, finance director of the unsuccessful JC Flower bid for Northern Rock. The former ABN Amro executive gave £33,500 to the Conservatives at about the time Flowers withdrew from its bid talks.
Incidentally the spokesman has just come back with a further clarification of the facts. It transpires that the Sherwoods paid £10,000 for the two tickets but £1,500 of this went to the two meals while only the remainder was an actual donation. That seems like an expensive feast by any standards.