Banker Pays $275,000 for Tory Tennis Match, Guardian Says

A banker married to a former minister in the Russian government paid 160,000 pounds ($275,000) at a Conservative Party fundraising event for a game of tennis with Prime Minister David Cameron and London Mayor Boris Johnson, the Guardian newspaper reported.

Lyubov Chernukhin paid the money in an auction at the Tories’ summer fundraising ball two days ago, the newspaper said, citing her law firm, Carter Ruck.

Chernukhin, a British citizen, is the wife of Vladimir Chernukhin, who was Russian deputy finance minister from 2000 to 2002 in Vladimir Putin’s first term as president.

The newspaper cited Electoral Commission records as saying she’d been declared an “impermissible donor” in April 2012 after an attempted donation to the Tories, though she’d since made three further donations totaling 5,500 pounds.

The Conservative Party refused to name the successful bidder for the tennis lot, then denied that the winner was Vladimir Chernukhin, according to the Guardian. A spokesman for Johnson said the sale of the match was “a party matter” and referred inquiries to Conservative headquarters, as did Downing Street, it said.

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