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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Further revelations in the Vaughan Gething campaign money saga

Nation Cymru poses a very reasonable question, asking was Welsh Government loan money used to donate £200,000 to First Minister, Vaughan Gething?

They do so in light of the latest revelation that newly published accounts, filed at Companies House. have revealed that companies run by a convicted criminal that bankrolled Vaughan Gething’s Welsh Labour leadership campaign owe £400,000 to a bank wholly owned by the Welsh Government. 

They add that this has raised concerns that Mr Gething’s successful campaign may have effectively been financed by money borrowed from the Welsh Government:

The Welsh political world was rocked when Nation.Cymru reported in February how Dauson Environmental Group Ltd had donated a total of £200,000 to the Cardiff South and Penarth MS – a sum way in excess of previous donations to Welsh politicians.

Dauson and its subsidiary companies, including Atlantic Recycling Ltd, are owned by businessman David Neal, who has received two suspended jail sentences for illegally dumping toxic sludge at the Gwent Levels, a sensitive wetlands landscape with a protected status to the south east of Newport.

Mr Gething narrowly defeated Jeremy Miles in the contest to succeed Mark Drakeford as party leader, a victory that made his election as First Minister inevitable.

Many take the view that he could not have won without the considerable financial support provided to him by Dauson. It is understood that a significant share of the money was used to pay individuals to make campaign phone calls to party members from a phone bank in the run-up to the leadership election.

Entries on the Electoral Commission’s register of political donations show that Dauson Environmental Group, based in Mr Gething’s constituency, donated £100k to his campaign on December 18 2023 and a further £100k on January 11 2024. Both donations were registered with the Commission on February 7 2024.

A business researcher who does not wish to be named contacted Nation.Cymru and told us: “Companies House records show that money was lent to Atlantic Recycling and Dauson Environmental Group by the Development Bank of Wales (DBW) during the period when Vaughan Gething, in his previous role as Economy Minister, was the minister responsible for DBW. The Welsh Government owns 100% of DBW’s shares.

“The 2022/23 accounts just filed show that a £400k bank debt was raised during that year, which accords with DBW taking charges over Dauson and Atlantic on February 28 2023. So it’s probably DBW who lent the money.

“If this company needed to borrow £400k, how was it in a position to lend £200k as a political donation to the Minister responsible for DBW? The implication is that money lent by DBW to the group may effectively have ended up being donated to Vaughan Gething’s leadership campaign.”

Furthermore, an additional charge on the assets of Atlantic Recycling was granted to HSBC on February 28 2024.

The reputational threat to the Senedd and Welsh devolution is enormous. We cannot afford a Westminster-style scandal.  Surely, these latest revelations are the final straw that will prompt Gething to give the money back.

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