Lord Ashdown intervention in Donorgate scandal

The Scottish National Party has welcomed former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown's criticism of the controversial £500,000 donation to the No campaign by Ian Taylor, the president and chief executive of Vitol.

As reported in The Herald newspaper, Lord Ashdown – who was UN High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina from 2002 to 2006, and responsible for pursuing war criminals in the former Yugoslavia - said companies such as Vitol were na├»ve and that critics of the donation have a legitimate complaint.

Lord Ashdown said:

“Anybody who did business in the Balkans who didn’t realise there were networks of corruption that extended into any and all governments was naive.

“It’s a basic principle that I appreciate and understand. Wherever you are coming from, it’s a perfectly legitimate line to pursue.”

SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson said:

“Paddy Ashdown’s powerful comments can only add to the demands of those who have been asking the No campaign to hand back the money from Ian Taylor. Lord Ashdown knows better than most the circumstances of the Balkans at that time, and his views must be taken seriously.”

ENDS

Notes:

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/paddy-ashdown-condemns-better-together-cash-from-tycoon.1367309464

Further notes:

Angus Robertson raises question in PMQs:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGhM3B3EBFE&feature=youtu.be

‘Arkan’ case ICTY information sheet:

http://www.icty.org/x/cases/zeljko_raznjatovic/cis/en/cis_arkan_en.pdf

Ian Taylor at Downing Street:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17512814

Vitol's $1 million payment to Arkan is detailed in this Observer article:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2001/jul/01/balkans.warcrimes2

Vitol’s tax avoidance arrangements are detailed in this Daily Telegraph article:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/oilandgas/9771537/Oil-trader-Vitol-in-talks-over-tax-avoidance-bill.html

John Mann MP's comments can be seen in this Daily Telegraph article:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/oilandgas/9569231/Vitol-faces-questions-on-trade-with-Iran.html