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Friday, January 11, 2008

Crisis deepens for Hain

The BBC are reporting that two men who gave money to a think tank were not told it would be used to fund Peter Hain's Labour deputy leadership bid:

Diamond dealer Willie Nagel and another man, who did not want to be named, gave and loaned a total of more than £35,000 to the Progressive Policy Forum (PPF).

Both say they had no objection to the money being used to fund the Welsh Secretary's campaign but were not told.

Mr Hain says all PPF donors were asked whether funds could be transferred.

A source has told the BBC Mr Nagel said he "was not surprised" and "not unhappy" that the money had ended up being used for Mr Hain's campaign.

And in a statement issued through his solicitor, Mr Nagel said he had known Mr Hain, who is also work and pensions secretary, since 2000 and "respected" his work.

The existence of the Progressive Policy Forum is another controversial part of this affair. The BBC tell us that six of the donations were made by individuals through this virtually unknown think tank, which has a registered address at a London solicitor's offices.

They say that it was set up in December 2006, three months after the launch of Mr Hain's campaign, and counts John Underwood, who was closely involved in financing the Hain campaign, as a trustee. The PPF does not appear to have issued any reports or research nor is there any trace of a website.

It is not illegal to use a third party to donate money, provided the original source of the donation is registered. It cannot be helpful though if, within hours of Mr. Hain saying that donors to the think tank had consented to the onward transmission of their money, two of them deny any knowledge of such a transaction.
"Goo does not stick to Teflon!"
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