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Society

ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Liaisons dangereuses

by Peter Avis

Dangerous Liaisons

Translated Friday 31 October 2008, by Marjorie Cremont-Targar

Great Britain may well be in recession, but the swindlers, including high ranking politicians, continue to live the high life and carry on plotting, with no concern for the current economic environment.

An incredible story has just been revealed by the press in London, which is both unsettling for the Conservative party and an embarrassment to Gordon Brown’s Labour government. It tells the tale of luxury holidays on the Greek island of Corfu two months ago, when various politicians and business men who are in contact with the richest Russian in the world, met together.

At the heart of the affair – or affairs – is the “oligarch” Oleg Deripaska, king of the Russian aluminium market and owner of a house worth 25 million € in London and a yacht worth 120 million € in the Mediterranean. Who do we find amongst his holiday friends? George Osborne, Conservative spokesman on Finance and… Peter Mandelson, ex member of the European Commission and recently ennobled by being named as the Minister of Trade by his old enemy, Gordon Brown.

It’s never a surprise to find Mandelson, the “Prince of Darkness”, involved in sombre affairs… He was forced to leave Tony Blair’s government on two occasions for monetary issues and abusive use of influence. He was then named Trade Commissioner in Brussels, and later recalled, pocketing a fat envelope on the way – to try and calm the problems at the heart of the Labour party.
Mandelson was invited aboard the oligarch’s yacht; George Osborne, who was staying at Nat Rothschild’s spectacular villa at the time, decided to play a nasty trick on Mandelson by telling everyone that he was using his time in Corfu to spread “poisonous” talk about Brown. In return, Mandelson’s friends announced that Osborne was asking Deripaska to donate 56 000 € to the Conservative party. Osborne formally denies this allegation, but confirms that he had did have an ill advised association with the oligarch.

It is rumoured that while Mandelson was at the European Commission, he may have given favours to Deripaska to help export his aluminium. In this wonderful world of trickery and betrayal, relationships seem to bring in big money.

Whatever the truth, the scandal happened at a bad time for Osborne and the Conservatives, who are desperately trying to portray their party as being less elitist.


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