Ayman Asfari, whose wife matched his donation, was interviewed in bribery and money-laundering investigation.
Theresa May’s election campaign has received a £50,000 donation from a Syrian-born businessman who was recently interviewed by the Serious Fraud Office, according to official data.
Ayman Asfari, the chief executive of the oil services group Petrofac, gave the money to the Tories just days before the Guardian disclosed that he was recently interviewed under caution by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) over suspected bribery, corruption and money laundering by the company.
Asfari’s donation has been matched by his wife, Sawsan. He is also one of the prime minister’s business ambassadors, and is a member of the Leader’s Group, the elite group of donors who give over £50,000 a year, and are invited to dinners with the prime minister and senior government ministers. The Asfaris have now given £819,350 to the party.
The investigation is part of the SFO’s inquiry into Unaoil, a Monaco-based firm that has been accused of corruptly securing contracts for multinationals. Unaoil has denied any wrongdoing. A spokesman for Petrofac said the company was cooperating with the authorities. It has also said that an investigation by its lawyers and auditors found no evidence that any director “was aware of the alleged misconduct”.
Electoral Commission records show that the Conservatives raised more than £4.1m in the first week of the general election campaign, with Labour raising just over £2.7m. The Liberal Democrats raised only £180,000 in the same time period, which is likely to raise further questions about their appeal under Tim Farron.
The commission’s figures show that Theresa May’s party has launched a major fundraising drive among its wealthiest donors, with the aim of raising £19m for the general election.