|From Private Eye, but too good not to lift verbatim|
Three years later he skipped bail while awaiting trial for fraud. He has not been seen since, though he is thought to be in the Caribbean. In November 2008 he was convicted in absentia of stealing £36m from investors to whom he posed as an international bond dealer.
His appearance on the Crimestoppers website may prompt some voters to wonder what happened to his political donations. Those wholesome Liberal Democrats wouldn’t wish to get rich on the proceeds of crime, would they? Er, yes they would!
Free helicopter flights
Luckily for them, the Electoral Commission is equally unworldly. Shortly before Christmas it published its final verdict on the tainted donations. Under the rules a British company must be “carrying on business” in the UK to give money to a political party, and the commission believes that 5th Avenue Partners was doing so. It had bought “office furniture and equipment”, and set up “trading accounts”.
‘Fraudulent from its inception’
There was one other question the Electoral Commission had to consider. Was the true donor 5th Avenue Partners – or was it Michael Brown, in which case the Lib Dems would have to repay it? “There is no credible evidence,” the commission concludes, “that any of the donations came from Michael Brown’s own money rather than from one of his companies.” Well, they’re right in one respect. It wasn’t Brown’s own money, it was money he had stolen from investors and laundered through his company. According to the commission, this makes the gift entirely “permissible”. Case closed.
Fugitive sugar daddy
Meanwhile, the wretched Lib Dems must endure the shame of having their fraudulent and fugitive sugar daddy displayed on Crimestoppers. Which should give some pleasure to the founder and chairman of Crimestoppers… one Lord Ashcroft!