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Tories face demands to return Lycamobile donations after fraud verdict: Report

Tories face demands to return Lycamobile donations after fraud verdict
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Conservatives face increasing pressure to return donations received from Lycamobile after their French entities were found guilty of fraud by a Paris court, the Financial Times reported. The UK-based global mobile network operator donated £2.15 million to the Conservative Party between 2011 and 2016, according to Electoral Commission records.

According to the judgement of the Paris criminal court dated October 26, Lycamobile’s French branches were found guilty of VAT fraud and money laundering.

This verdict resulted in a fine of £8.7 million, against which Lycamobile France appealed. Former CEO Christopher Tooley and Alain Jochimek, head of the French company, were convicted in connection with fraud.

Tooley was given a suspended prison sentence and a fine, while Jochimek was sentenced to three years, possibly with electronic monitoring, as well as a fine.

Both men are appealing these sentences. After the ruling, the conservatives were ordered to return the money they received from Lycamobile.

As reported by the FT, Liberal Democrats Cabinet Office spokeswoman Christine Jardine called for an independent investigation and questioned the acceptance of donations after serious allegations were made.

Jardine has raised concerns about conservatives accepting donations, even after allegations of money laundering in the press in 2015 and charges brought by French prosecutors in 2016.

She pressed for assurances that the Conservative Party would not withhold Lycamobile’s £2.15m in light of the French court ruling. Additionally, it was reported that in 2017, HMRC refused a request by French authorities to raid Lycamobile’s London offices.

Jardine highlights these events, suggesting a potential link between Lycamobile’s donations and HMRC’s decision and warning of potential damage to public trust in politics.

A Conservative Party official said all donations were declared transparently and complied with Electoral Commission regulations. The Paris court judgment accuses Lycamobile of defrauding tax authorities by abusing VAT regulations and knowingly participating in a complex money laundering scheme between 2014 and 2016.

Lycamobile maintains its innocence, maintains that it is a victim of organized crime and intends to defend itself before higher courts. The company did not respond to a request for comment from Eastern Eye. In February, Lycamobile owner Allirajah Subaskaran found himself at odds with accountants after the taxman ordered his company to pay £100 million over alleged VAT irregularities.

According to Lycamobile UK Limited’s auditors, they were “unable to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence” in relation to the company’s £18 million loan to Subaskaran and P Subaskaran, who is said to be his wife.

Premantharsini Subaskaran formerly. Furthermore, recent company filings showing £169 million worth of debt owed to a complex network of affiliated companies also could not be verified.

British-Sri Lankan tycoon Subaskaran founded Lycamobile in the mid-2000s and it specialises in affordable pay-as-you-go sim cards for those who plan to make calls in the UK as well as abroad. It claims to be the world’s largest mobile virtual network operator with a customer base of more than 16 million and a new customer coming in every two seconds.


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Dulal Ahmed Chowdhury is the Editor of The Daily Dazzling Dawn. Previously, he has been serving in important positions in all the famous national dailies of the Bangladesh since the nineties. He has played a commendable role in journalism by participating in various events at the national and international levels. United Nations Conference, World Climate Conference, SAARC Summit are notable among them.

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