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Osborne: "I made a mistake"

Tuesday, 28th October 2008


Written by Francesca Cookney


Shadow chancellor George Osborne has admitted he "made a mistake" in his dealings with Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska but maintains that he did not try to solicit money from him.

Mr Osborne visited the Russian oligarch while on holiday in Corfu in August but denies asking him for a 50,000 donation. "I neither asked for money nor received any and I didn't break any rules but I think I did make a mistake," he said on BBC Radio 4 yesterday.

He has strongly denied the allegations, set out by financier Nathaniel Rothschild, from the start but he did concede that "to be honest this didn't look very good and that's something I regret." It is illegal for a British political party to receive donations from someone not on the UK electoral roll and although the soliciting of one is not strictly an offence, it nevertheless reflects extremely badly on the Conservatives.

As a result, Mr Osborne will no longer be involved in fundraising for the party. "I have changed the way that I am going to operate when it comes to fundraising and I will not discuss individual donations with individual donors," he told the BBC.

"That, I think, is an appropriate thing for me to do". Tory leader, David Cameron agreed. "We have all learnt lessons from this," he said.

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