Tory peer’s ‘£4m for Rus­sian lob­by­ing’

Cameron ally got ‘bonus for ask­ing US to lift sanc­tions’

Daily Mail - - News - By Mario Led­with

A TORY peer re­ceived a bonus of up to £4mil­lion from a Rus­sian en­ergy firm owned by oli­garch Oleg Deri­paska for lob­by­ing the US to drop sanc­tions, re­ports claim.

Lord Barker of Bat­tle took the pay­out from EN+ af­ter it and Mr Deri­paska were black­listed by the US Trea­sury for al­leged crim­i­nal­ity.

The ex- en­ergy min­is­ter, who was en­no­bled by his ally David Cameron, left the Lords tem­po­rar­ily to suc­cess­fully lobby Amer­ica to drop the mea­sures.

De­spite crit­i­cism of his fi­nan­cial links to Moscow, the 53year-old has re­fused to say how much he is paid by EN+ as its ex­ec­u­tive chair­man.

Lord Barker con­firmed last month that he would re­ceive a bonus, al­though he in­sisted it would be ‘rel­a­tively mod­est’.

But sources linked to the company told the busi­ness web­site Bloomberg that it was ex­pected to be be­tween £3mil­lion and £4mil­lion. The news comes as the Govern­ment is said to be plan­ning to in­crease scru­tiny of Lords with links to hos­tile for­eign states such as Rus­sia.

Lord Barker and EN+ had promised his salary would be dis­closed in an­nual ac­counts pub­lished ear­lier this week. But, in an un­usual move, the firm did not re­veal his pay, in­stead giv­ing a to­tal of £1.4mil­lion paid to all non-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tors.

He was ap­pointed chair­man of the Jersey-reg­is­tered company in 2017 be­fore it floated on the Lon­don Stock Ex­change, rais­ing £770mil­lion, in a move that raised con­cerns at MI6.

The US placed sanc­tions on EN+ in April last year to crack down on oli­garchs linked to the Krem­lin and Rus­sia’s ‘ ma­lign in­flu­ence’. Fur­ther mea­sures were placed on Mr Deri­paska, who is said to be one of Rus­sia’s most in­flu­en­tial busi­ness­men.

The US Trea­sury cited claims that he was a state ac­tor for Rus­sia with links to or­gan­ised crime, mur­der and ex­tor­tion.

Lord Barker took a leave of ab­sence from the Lords in Fe­bru­ary to travel be­tween Lon­don, Moscow and Wash­ing­ton to ne­go­ti­ate a deal to lift the EN+ sanc­tions. This meant he could use his ti­tle but did not have to reg­is­ter his busi­ness deal­ings.

The sanc­tions were lifted in Jan­uary fol­low­ing a deal that re­quired Mr Deri­paska’s 70 per cent stake to be halved. Lord Barker in­sists he was lob­by­ing for mi­nor­ity share­hold­ers, claim­ing the sanc­tions had ‘ muted’ the ty­coon’s in­flu­ence.

The peer stepped down as an MP in 2015. But his links to Rus­sia were formed be­fore he en­tered the Com­mons in 2001, when he worked for Sib­neft, the oil group run by Chelsea FC owner Ro­man Abramovich.

His role in the Rus­sian en­ergy sec­tor has come un­der scru­tiny, and he was called to give ev­i­dence to the Com­mons for­eign affairs com­mit­tee in Fe­bru­ary.

Se­cu­rity min­is­ter Ben Wal­lace claimed he was seek­ing ‘govern­ment as­sis­tance for Rus­sian as­so­ci­ates’. Lord Barker told the com­mit­tee he met For­eign Of­fice min­is­ter Alan Dun­can, and Labour MP Stephen Pound af­ter EN+ was hit by sanc­tions, but did not ask for help.

In Fe­bru­ary, the Lords stan­dards com­mis­sioner dropped a probe into whether he tried to in­flu­ence the Govern­ment.

A spokesman for Lord Barker and EN+ re­fused to com­ment on his bonus, claim­ing de­tails of his pay would ap­pear in the firm’s next an­nual ac­counts.

Scru­tiny: Lord Barker

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