World news

Baroness Mone’s petty deals with the Conservative Party

She was initially only Michelle Mone, the perfect self-made woman. Leaving school at 15, without any diploma, she tried her hand at modeling before launching her bra brand ten years later with her husband. Helping success, it is diversifying into pills for weight loss, self-tanning and even… property development in Dubai.

If shadows hang over the financial success of his businesses, at 51, his career crystallizes the dreams of success of Conservative Party politicians. So much so that, in 2015, the Scotswoman was ennobled and appointed to the House of Lords by Prime Minister David Cameron.

A £203million deal

When the Covid-19 epidemic hit, Baroness Mone, her now official name, saw it as an opportunity to get rich. In May 2020, she contacted, via their personal email, the two ministers responsible for supplying the country with personal protective equipment. It assures that it can supply the country via its “Team in Hong Kong”.

The company she recommends, PPE Medpro, does not yet exist legally. It will be a few days later when the name of Baroness Mone will be added to the “VIP list”, created during the Covid crisis, and made up of companies close to the Conservative Party. The company quickly signs a contract worth 203 million pounds sterling (235 million euros).

A conflict of interest? Not in the least, answers the company, which ensures that the baroness is neither involved nor a shareholder of PPE Medpro. However, in September 2020, one of the trusts held by his companion Doug Barrowman, in the tax haven of the Isle of Man, received two payments of at least 65 million pounds sterling (75 million euros) from the company, according to an internal survey carried out by the HSBC bank and revealed by the daily The Guardian.

From there, the trust makes two further payments: one of £28.8 million (€33.3 million) to a trust whose beneficiaries are Michelle Mone and her three children, and the other of £45.8m (€53m) to Doug Barrowman’s personal bank account in the Isle of Man.

The Conservative Party’s “VIP List”

These revelations reinforce suspicions towards the baroness, already under investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the House of Lords. Above all, they confirm the smell of sulfur around the contracts awarded via the government’s VIP list.

Thus, 73 contracts for the purchase of personal protective equipment or Covid-19 tests are considered doubtful by the charity organization Transparency International UK. Among them, 27 were awarded to relatives of the Conservative Party, for an amount of 2.1 billion pounds sterling (2.43 billion euros).

The High Court of Justice has also ruled these contracts illegal since they were awarded without a public offer and competition. Even if its defenders believe that the urgency of the situation justified these express conditions.

The proliferation in recent years of corruption scandals, influence peddling or nepotism within the Conservative Party reinforces the feeling of its moral decay. Last year, former Prime Minister David Cameron was accused of lobbying for a financial company, Greensill Capital.

Following the conflict of interest conviction of MP and former Conservative cabinet minister Owen Paterson, national media discovered that twenty-five Tory MPs, one Labor and one Liberal Democrat worked part-time as a consultant for private companies and four d tween them had thus more than doubled their annual elected salary, which amounted to £81,932 (€94,860).

Finally, the renovation work on Boris Johnson’s official apartment had initially been paid for by a party donor, before, faced with the scandal, the Prime Minister felt obliged to reimburse them.


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