Page last updated at 15:11 GMT, Tuesday, 21 October 2008 16:11 UK

Who's who: The Tory donation row

The Tories have denied claims they solicited a donation from Russia's richest man at a meeting between shadow chancellor George Osborne and Oleg Deripaska in Corfu this summer. Here are the key figures in the row:


George Osborne
George Osborne denies receiving or seeking a donation

The shadow chancellor is David Cameron's right-hand man. He started working for the Tories in 1994 and later became political secretary to leader William Hague. Elected to Parliament in 2001, he rose quickly through the ranks as a key ally of Mr Cameron's on the modernising wing of the party. Named shadow chancellor in late 2005, he fought a successful battle with MPs on the right to resist calls for income tax cuts. But his pledge to increase the inheritance tax threshold last year was seen as vital to boosting the party's popularity. Before Tuesday's allegations emerged, his holiday in Corfu this summer had already caused controversy. He admitted having a meal with Peter Mandelson but denied leaking details of their conversation - in which Mr Mandelson was reported to have criticised Gordon Brown - to newspapers.


Peter Mandelson's return to the cabinet earlier this month as business secretary shocked Westminster. Having resigned from Tony Blair's cabinet twice under a cloud, few expected a return to frontline UK politics. Dubbed by the media as the "prince of darkness", he made his name as Neil Kinnock's communications adviser in the late 1980s, reshaping the party's image and message. Elected to Parliament in 1992, he famously backed Tony Blair for the Labour leadership in 1994, leading to a decade-long feud with Gordon Brown. Mr Brown's decision to bring him back to government seemed to mark an end to hostilities. But his critics say controversy is never far away from Lord Mandelson and he has faced questions about his links, while he was EU trade commissioner, with Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska. He has described claims that this relationship represented a conflict of interest for him as "muck raking" and "innuendo".

Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska
Oleg Deripaska is an Anglophile but has no interest in football

Reports in May claimed 40-year old Mr Deripaska has now overtaken Roman Abramovich as Russia's richest man. His estimated 17bn fortune has been hit by the economic downturn but, as a close friend of former president Vladimir Putin, he remains one of Russia's most powerful men. He made his fortune from scratch, initially buying stakes in aluminium factories in Siberia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Mr Deripaska merged these aluminium interests with Mr Abramovich's own in 2000 and later bought out his partner giving him control of the business. Married to the daughter of a former adviser to Boris Yeltsin, Mr Deripaska enjoys the trappings of his wealth, owning a 20m house in London as well as the giant Queen K yacht on which he met George Osborne this summer. Observers say Mr Deripaska - who had his multi-entry US visa revoked in 2006 - is a shrewd businessman but query whether he would want to give any money to a British political party. Mr Deripaska has described the UK as a "post-industrial society" and has dismissed links with the Premier League, saying football is not "his thing".


Andrew Feldman, the 42-year-old Conservative Party chief executive, accompanied George Osborne in his controversial meeting with Oleg Deripaska in Corfu. A university friend of David Cameron's, Mr Feldman is a member of the so-called "Notting Hill set" of key figures around the Tory leader. Mr Feldman helped raised funds for Mr Cameron's successful 2005 leadership bid and, as the party's deputy treasurer. has since been trying to build up a war chest for the next general election. Reports claim he has tried to broaden the party's supply of funding, trying to move it away from a small number of large benefactors. Described as having a "good business brain", Feldman also runs his family-owned clothing firm Jayroma.

Nathaniel Rothschild
Nathaniel Rothschild hosted George Osborne in Corfu

Nathaniel Rothschild's letter to The Times, in which he claimed George Osborne had sought a donation from Oleg Deripaska, has thrust him into the political spotlight. The 37-year old is a member of one of Europe's most wealthy and celebrated family dynasties whose name is synonymous with investment banking. As adviser to the Russian billionaire, he helped broker a deal last year to make Mr Deripaska's aluminium firm the largest in the world. He oversees a web of investments across eastern Europe and is a partner in the US hedge fund Atticus Capital. He is also a friend of George Osborne's, who stayed at his villa in Corfu, and has made donations to the Tories in the past. In recent years, he has become known for shunning the limelight and avoiding media attention, a stance which has now come to an end. Before embarking on his business career, he was known for his love of travel and skiing. While at Oxford he was a member of the famous Bullingdon Club, whose past members also include David Cameron.

Osborne denies Russian cash claim
21 Oct 08 |  UK Politics
Osborne denies Russian cash claim
21 Oct 08 |  Newsnight

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