Sunday, October 15, 2006

How did I miss this one?

Stuart Ritchie posted on my blog a little while back
The electoral commission have completed their investigations and have concluded that the Lib Dems did nothing wrong... When contacted by the media yesterday they said that if the Police came up with any new information they would look again but as far as they are concerned the matter is closed.
Here's the statement that I had at the time from the Electoral Commission - subtly different, I think you'll agree.

Based on the information given to us by the Liberal Democrats, we took the view in October 2005 that it was reasonable for the party to regard donations from 5th Avenue as having been permissible. We will always consider any new information that might become available regarding the permissibility of donations.

If any additional information that has a bearing on the permissibility of the donations comes to light as a result of the police investigation or legal proceedings relating to the affairs of 5th Avenue, we will consider the matter further.

Last week, a High Court judge said in a judgement
There was no trading and the scheme was fraudulent from its inception, it never being Brown’s intention that the money should be used this way. Funds had instead been shunted around various accounts in Europe. It is also clear that Michael Brown tried to hide the fact that there had been no legitimate trading with the funds supplied to him.

And again, the relevant section of the PPERA
54. - (1) A donation received by a registered party must not be accepted by the party if-
(a) the person by whom the donation would be made is not, at the time of its receipt by the party, a permissible donor
(2) For the purposes of this Part the following are permissible donors-
(a) an individual registered in an electoral register;
(b) a company-
(i) registered under the Companies Act 1985 or the Companies (Northern Ireland) Order 1986, and
(ii) incorporated within the United Kingdom or another member State, which carries on business in the United Kingdom
If you belong to the Liberal Democrats, remember that you have a personal liability for the debt if the clutch of Lib Dem millionaires don't bail you out.
'While there may be nothing illegal in what they have done, it is not the way a political party should behave.'
So said Lord Oakeshott, the Lib Dem peer. It was actually about the Lib Dem demands for an investigation of the tax avoidance plan that allowed the Tories to dodge a £600,000 stamp duty bill.

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