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The International Super Rich Bankrolling Robert Jenrick’s Political Ambitions Through Mysterious Companies

Campaigners call for electoral laws to be tightened after an Israeli billionaire and an Australian hedge fund boss use their companies, which made minimal UK profits, to donate £40,000 to the former Immigration Minister

Robert Jenrick, MP, pictured at Downing Street, London, in January 2023. Photo: Amanda Rose / Alamy
Conservative MP Robert Jenrick, pictured at Downing Street, London, in January 2023, is undergoing a political transformation. Photo: Amanda Rose/Alamy

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Robert Jenrick has had quite the political transformation of late.

In recent months, the erstwhile One Nation Conservative has had photo-ops at the Texas border and lectured on mass migration at the Heritage Foundation, the uber-conservative think tank that has been paying Liz Truss to give speeches.

Jenrick, who voted to remain in the EU in the 2016 Referendum, even popped up at the ‘PopCons’ this week to say that his own Government has “betrayed the promise of Brexit”.  

Plenty has been written about Jenrick’s leadership ambitions – including in the New Statesman this week – but less has been said about who is bankrolling the former Immigration Minister’s videos and globe-trotting.

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In the past month alone, Jenrick has accepted £40,000 from two companies – one owned by an Israeli billionaire, the other by an Australian hedge fund scion. 

Both firms gave more money to Jenrick than they made in profits over the last two financial years, raising concerns from transparency campaigners about the use of opaque companies to funnel money into British politics.


Via Liberia 

In early April, Jenrick received a £35,000 donation from a company called Quantum Pacific Corporation UK Ltd. Never heard of them? You’re not alone. 

The company doesn’t seem to have a website, but it does have a LinkedIn page.

Companies House records show that Quantum Pacific Corporation UK is ultimately owned by Gladebrooke Holdings Ltds, a company incorporated in Liberia.

A bit more digging reveals that Quantum Pacific Corporation UK is part of Idan Ofer’s $6.5 billion energy, shipping and mining empire.

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Oder owns 100% of Quantum Pacific Corporation UK, as well as a slew of companies with similar names in secretive jurisdictions such as Gibraltar, Guernsey and the British Virgin Islands. Quantum Pacific Group’s interests include oil and gas exploration.

On 30 April, Jenrick registered a £5,000 donation from a company called Firefly Digital Limited. In September, it filed dormant company accounts with Companies House, showing assets of just £1 and no profits.

Firefly Digital is ultimately owned by super-rich Australian hedge fund manager Hilton Nathanson, who also donated £5,000 to Michael Gove last year. 


‘Something Seriously Wrong With the Rules’

Transparency campaigners have raised concerns that both Oder and Nathanson used companies to donate to Jenrick – and that both companies made little, if any, UK profits.

“The law is intended to provide transparency and controls over the provenance of funds in UK politics, yet it is increasingly clear it does neither sufficiently,” Steve Goodrich, head of research and investigations at Transparency International, told Byline Times.

“That it can be so hard to identify where corporate donors’ money comes from shows there’s something seriously wrong with the rules.”

He suggested that, as a “minimum”, businesses should only be able to donate if they can cover “these costs from profits generated in the UK within the last two years”.

The Electoral Commission has previously called for electoral law to be changed to prevent companies donating more money than they have made in the UK. 

Jenrick has history with some of his new donors.

He has described Idan Ofer as a “family friend” after concerns were raised when the two met in 2018 while Jenrick, then a junior Treasury Minister, was considering a request for financial support from a mining project that would have rivalled Oder’s own firm Cleveland Potash.  

Oder, alongside his wife, quit Harvard University’s executive board in protest at the response to the Hamas attacks in November. He is reportedly relocating to London for “family reasons”. 

Oder’s Quantum Pacific Corporation UK previously donated £10,000 to the Conservatives, in 2019. A spokesperson for Oder said that the donation was for the Conservative Friends of Israel group. 

Jenrick, once seen as a moderate, has been positioning himself as a torch-bearer on the right of the Conservatives in recent months.

In December, he resigned as Immigration Minister, saying that the Government’s Rwanda legislation “does not go far enough”. 

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He has also been caught in controversy.

In 2020, Jenrick was accused of cronyism after he overruled the local authority, Tower Hamlets, in east London, and the Government’s planning inspectorate in favour of Richard Desmond, the former porn baron billionaire property developer and Conservative donor, and his proposal for a substantial housing project in the area.

Desmond – who would have avoided tax of £45 million – donated £12,000 to the Conservatives a fortnight after permission was granted for his proposal. Jenrick later admitted that his decision had been “unlawful by reason of apparent bias” – but refused to resign.

Jenrick, Oder and Nathanson did not respond to requests for comment.

This article was first published on Peter Geoghegan’s ‘Democracy for Sale’ Substack. Sign up here for updates


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