David Cameron was asked during PMQs today whether or not he would continue hosting dinners at Downing Street with a man named Ian Taylor. He was also urged to return the money Mr Taylor has donated to the Conservative Party.
David Cameron was asked during PMQs today whether or not he would continue hosting dinners at Downing Street with a man named Ian Taylor. He was also asked whether he would be giving back money the same Mr Taylor had donated to the Tory Party.
Mr Cameron gave a curt response, accusing the MP who asked the question – Angus Robertson of the SNP – of playing a “cheap political card”.
So just who is Ian Taylor?
Well first off he is the president and chief executive of the world’s largest oil trader, Vitol, and he has been involved in the oil business for more than 30 years. Since June 2006 he has donated £555,100 to the Tory party. He also dined with David Cameron at Downing Street on 2 November 2011.
In 2001, The Observer revealed that Vitol paid £1 million to Serbian war criminal Željko Ražnatović (better known as Arkan) to arrange an oil deal with the regime of Slobodan Milosevic. For its part Vitol said no illegal conduct was involved in this transaction. According to the the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Arkan was responsible for at least 24 crimes against humanity, including the murder of civilians, rape and ethnic cleansing.
According to Herald Scotland, Vitol, the company which Ian Taylor head, has also in the past used Employee Benefit Trusts to avoid tax on the incomes of its UK staff and has been in discussion with HMRC about a deal to pay this off.
Is it really acceptable for Mr Cameron to dismiss concerns about donations from someone whose company had a relationship with one of Serbia’s most notorious war criminals in so blase a manner?Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.