Kwasi Kwarteng Charged with Misleading Claims About Power Cable Project | Kwasi Kwarteng


A cabinet minister has been accused of making misleading statements about a £ 1.2bn cable project linked to a Tory donor.

Nearly one in ten Conservative MPs had taken money from companies linked to Viktor Fedotov, revealed in Pandora newspapers to have secretly co-owned a company once accused of participating in a massive bribery scheme. One of those companies included Aquind.

Labor stressed that Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng had said he supported the project in a letter released in 2019 under Freedom of Information, although Kwarteng said on Sunday that he never expressed his support.

A source at the Ministry of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said the letter was part of a proposal for cross-border infrastructure projects on the register of “EU projects of common interest” (PCI) , which included Aquind as one of the four interconnection projects. The source said the planning decision was separate and quasi-judicial and that proposing the project to ICP did not mean it would be approved.

Kwarteng must decide whether or not to approve the project this week. Aquind and other companies owned by Fedotov have given the Tories £ 700,000. Another donor, Alexander Temerko, who is the public face of Aquind, has also made a public donation of over £ 700,000 to the Tories.

Kwarteng told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show that he had “never commented on this specific project” and said he would rely on official advice from officials to approve or deny the request.

“I am very favorable to more interconnections because they can in fact obtain electricity, energy sources, at a lower cost on the continent, and in many cases, this contributes to our decarbonization because certainly in France, a lot of that electricity is generated by nuclear power, “he said.” So overall I’m in favor of the interconnectors, I haven’t said anything about this particular project. “

In a letter to Temerko in October 2019, Kwarteng, then Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth, said: “We have written to the commission to reiterate our support for a number of projects. including, of course, the Aquind project. . “

Ed Miliband, the shadow business secretary, said: “Britain cannot afford this chaos and incompetence,” he said. “Kwasi Kwarteng is currently in a vital position to protect our energy supplies. He has to be honest with people. He must now correct the file and recuse himself from making the decision on [the] project.”

Lawyers for Fedotov and Aquind firmly denied all fraud charges and said the bribery accusations against his Russian firm were “completely false.” They said Fedotov did not personally donate to the Tories.

There is nothing to suggest that Temerko was aware of the possible origins of Fedotov’s wealth. Three Conservative ministers have already had to withdraw from decision-making on the Aquind submarine cable because of their ties to the company.

The Ministry of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has been approached for comments.

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