Prime minister’s business ambassador Ayman Asfari, who runs oilfield services provider, interviewed under caution.
The Serious Fraud Office has launched an investigation into a company run by a major Conservative donor who is one of the prime minister’s business ambassadors.
Petrofac, which provides services to the oil and gas industry, is being investigated by the SFO over suspected bribery, corruption and money laundering.
Its chief executive, Ayman Asfari, and his wife have given the Tories more than £700,000 since 2009, with the party receiving £40,000 last December. The Syrian-born businessman has been questioned under caution by the SFO, along with another member of Petrofac’s senior management team.
Asfari is a member of the leader’s group, an elite set of donors who give the Conservative party at least £50,000 a year and are invited to join the prime minister and other senior Tories at dinners. As a business ambassador, Asfari can carry out meetings on behalf of the British government while travelling overseas and also lead trade missions.
According to the government’s website, he is entitled to hold one-to-one meetings with senior government ministers and host “high-level incoming visitors”. There are 44 business ambassadors, including Douglas Flint, the chairman of HSBC, and Natalie Massenet, the founder of fashion retailer Net-a-Porter.