A former tax exile who made his estimated £100m fortune in property development has given his first significant donation to the Labour party, according to the latest accounts from the Electoral Commission.
Andrew Rosenfeld, who lived in Switzerland for five years until last April, has given £121,440 in what is expected to be the first instalment of a £1m pledge.
Mr Rosenfeld, who now holds a senior advisory position within Labour, left Britain before the financial crash to live in Geneva for tax purposes.
Baroness Warsi, who co-chairs the Conservative party, accused Labour leader Ed Miliband of hypocrisy for attacking irresponsible capitalism and tax avoidance while taking Mr Rosenfeld’s money.
“If Ed Miliband is serious about backing ‘productive’ rather than ‘predatory’ businesses he needs to explain why he is happy to be bankrolled and advised by a man who moved to Switzerland to avoid paying tax in Britain,” she said.
The Tories raised £3.2m, Labour £2.3m and the Liberal Democrats £1.1m in the last quarter of 2011, according to the Electoral Commission. Labour received a further £2m in state subsidies given to opposition parties.
Labour continued to receive the bulk of its money from unions. The GMB, which at its conference in June will hold a vote on disaffiliation from the party – instigated by members rather than the leadership – gave £649,092, the largest gift to any party.
Mark Bamford, a director of JCB, gave £150,500 to the Tories. Mr Bamford’s donation was made on October 31 last year on the same day the government announced that JCB was a successful bidder to the regional growth fund to help create 350 jobs on an engine project. The company said: “There is absolutely no link between any donation made and the grant.”
The biggest donation to the Tories was £600,000 from the National Conservative Draws Society, a lottery of 20,000 players who anonymously pay £1 a week.
Among the more unusual donations was a gift of £153,267 to the Lib Dems from the Ministry of Sound, the nightclub in Elephant & Castle, which is part of Lib Dem MP Simon Hughes’ constituency.
Mr Rosenfeld’s spokesman refused to say if he would give more money to Labour in future. “Any donation now or in the future will be registered in the normal way,” he said.
Before his spell in Switzerland, Mr Rosenfeld was criticised during the collapse of retailer Allders for refusing to take responsibility for its 3,500 pension scheme members despite part-owning the company.
Mr Rosenfeld has an inactive property joint venture with Goldman Sachs called Air Capital, based in the British Virgin Islands. In 2001 he gave £10,000 to Ken Clarke and was approached to be Conservative treasurer.
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