Nathaniel Rothschild's letter and the Conservative response

The letter in which the allegations about George Osborne, Tory fundraiser Andrew Feldman and Oleg Deripaska were made and the Conservative party statement responding to it

The letter from Nathaniel Rothschild, published in the Times


Since your paper - along with your sister publication the Sunday Times - has made much out of what may or may not have happened at a private gathering of my friends this summer in Corfu, I thought I should make the following observations.

I am surprised that you focus on the fact that one of my guests, Peter Mandelson, is a friend of another, Oleg Deripaska.

Not once in the acres of coverage did you mention that George Osborne, who also accepted my hospitality, found the opportunity of meeting with Mr Deripaska so good that he invited the Conservatives' fundraiser Andrew Feldman, who was staying nearby, to accompany him on to Mr Deripaska's boat to solicit a donation.

Since Mr Deripaska is not a British citizen, it was suggested by Mr Feldman, in a subsequent conversation at which Mr Deripaska was not present, that the donation was "channelled" through one of Mr Deripaska's British companies. Mr Deripaska declined to make any donation.

I mention this because it turns out that your obsession with Mr Mandelson is trivial in light of Mr Osborne's actions. I also think it ill behoves all political parties to try and make capital at the expense of another in such circumstances.

Perhaps in future it would be better if all involved accepted the age-old adage that private parties are just that.

Nathaniel Rothschild, Klosters, Switzerland

Statement issued by the Conservative party

The allegations made in Mr Rothschild's letter are completely untrue.

Both Andrew Feldman and George Osborne deny absolutely that they attempted to solicit a donation from Oleg Deripaska. Nor did they suggest a method by which he could conceal a donation via a British company.

They spent a short period of time on Mr Deripaska's boat at the invitation of Mr Rothschild. Donations to the Conservative party were not discussed with Mr Deripaska.

In a conversation on September 18, Mr Rothschild suggested to Andrew Feldman that Mr Deripaska wanted to make a donation to the party through one of his British companies. The offer was not taken up.

For clarity: the Conservative party has neither sought nor received any donations from Mr Deripaska nor any of his companies. (guardian, 10.21.2008)