Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE INTERVIEW

Exclusive: Israel's US ambassador speaks to FRANCE 24

Read more

#THE 51%

World War One: The war that changed women’s lives

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Ségolène Royal goes for green

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

A look back at some of the Observers' best stories

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults: Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds' (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults: Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds'

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola death toll tops 700

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Dozens of youths trampled to death on Conakry beach

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Renault's women drivers ad deemed sexist

Read more

  • Exclusive: Israel's US ambassador speaks to FRANCE 24

    Read more

  • Live: Israeli soldier feared captured, ceasefire 'over'

    Read more

  • Ugandan court strikes down anti-gay legislation

    Read more

  • Regional summit to tackle deadly Ebola outbreak

    Read more

  • French hospital to open wine bar for terminally ill patients

    Read more

  • €2.5 million in cocaine ‘disappears’ from Paris police HQ

    Read more

  • Appeal court keeps French rogue trader Kerviel in jail

    Read more

  • Air France ground workers to strike on August 2

    Read more

  • Interactive: France’s new plan to counter jihadism in Africa

    Read more

  • Ukrainian army suffers losses in separatist attack

    Read more

  • Dozens killed and injured in Taiwan gas blast

    Read more

  • Argentinian markets plummet following default

    Read more

  • French Jews speak of growing fear in Paris amid Gaza conflict

    Read more

  • Video: Inside Hamas ‘terror’ tunnels in Gaza

    Read more

  • Sierra Leone declares state of emergency over spread of Ebola

    Read more

Top British Conservative admits "mistake" in oligarch row

Text by AFP

Latest update : 2008-10-28

Shadow chancellor George Osborne has admitted that he made a "mistake" in holding discussions which allegedly attempted to solicit an illegal donation from a Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, with whom Peter Mandelson (photo) also has close ties.

One of the senior lawmakers in Britain's main opposition Conservative Party admitted Monday he made a "mistake" over his involvement in discussions about a donation from Russia's richest man.

George Osborne, the Conservatives' finance spokesman and the closest political ally of party leader David Cameron, said the discussions, which have erupted into a headline-hogging political row, "didn't look very good".

Osborne, 37, had been accused by financier Nat Rothschild of helping to solicit a potential 50,000 pound (63,000 euro, 82,000 dollar) donation from aluminium oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

Rothschild, a member of the wealthy banking dynasty, had hosted Osborne and Deripaska, plus Britain's now Business Secretary and ex EU trade commissioner Lord Peter Mandelson, at his villa on the Greek island of Corfu in August.

Osborne denies soliciting a donation but admits having met Deripaska five times, including twice on the oligarch's yacht the Queen K in Corfu in August.

In his first public comments for nearly a week, Osborne told BBC radio: "I neither asked for money nor received any and I didn't break any rules but I think I did make a mistake."

He added: "I think in politics it is not just what you say or what you do, it's how things look... if I am absolutely honest, this doesn't look very good and I regret that."

Only individuals who appear on Britain's electoral roll or legitimate British firms can donate to political parties. Conservative Party officials later decided it would not be appropriate to accept money from Deripaska.

On Sunday, the European Commission cleared Mandelson of any irregularity in his dealings with Deripaska, saying there was "no political interference" by him over a cut in EU duty on Russian aluminium exports and the raising of anti-dumping measures.

Date created : 2008-10-28

COMMENT(S)