George Osborne made an interesting comment this morning:
“In the free-for-all of Russia in the immediate aftermath of the collapse of communism, instead of fair reward for effort we saw the unfair wholesale transfer of state resources to individuals,” said the shadow Chancellor in a speech to Demos.
Perhaps this is a good time to remind readers about the Tories’ latest high-profile donors, revealed in the FT about a month ago.
David and Simon Reuben, who quietly gave nearly £200,000 through six obscure corporate entities, made their money in Russian aluminium in the 1990s through their business TransWorld, which dominated the industry. Later, a critical article by Fortune magazine in 2000 prompted a libel action by the brothers, which ended only when Fortune settled out of court, issued a full page clarification and reported that Kroll, the investigation firm, had cleared them.
The Reubens sold their metals business in 2000 and are now London-based property investors with interests ranging from Oxford Airport to the Wellington Pub Company. They made the news a couple of years ago when they had a very public spat with Ken Livingstone over a big real estate project in Stratford.
They have several connections in Conservative circles – David’s son has done work experience for the party – and are said to be friends with Lord Marland, the former treasurer. Michael Howard, former party leader, was last month appointed as chairman of Northern Racing, the racecourse business which the brothers own.