The Mail on Sunday focuses on the activities of Mahmoud Khayami, a French citizen (Iranian by birth) who runs a car dealership in California and has a villa in Cannes . He became a "permissible" donor to UK political parties on May 1, when he first appeared on the Electoral Register as resident at his £3million mansion in Hampstead Garden Suburb, North London, which he has owned since April 1986. (He cannot however vote in Parliamentary elections)
The following day he gave £500,000 to the Labour party - others followed £5,000 on May 14 and £5,000 on June 13 were made during the tricky transition period when Mr Brown was preparing to take over from Tony Blair. This it appears was part of £1 Mn pledged at the time and reported by the Guradian / Observer and of which Darling Tony said ;
A grateful Hazel Blears received £5,000 on June 26th for her Deputy Leadership campaign
'I would like to thank Mahmoud Khayami for making such a generous donation to the Labour party and for supporting our values of economic prosperity coupled with social justice.
'Mahmoud Khayami is a committed promoter of inter-religious understanding among Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities in the UK and abroad and is widely known for his widespread philanthropic work.'>
After Brown's coronation Mr Khayami gave £320,000 on September 24 was the second largest individual donation made during Mr Brown's tenure as Prime Minister.
All legal and above board yer honour - like his earlier endowments to 2 new secondary Sheffield schools in 2005 under the City Academy programme. Both academies will be run by a leading Anglican Church School Trust.
All legal and above board there sir.
The Guradian story said that Khayami's relationship with Labour was fostered by the party's newly appointed chair of its faith task force, public-relations executive Anthony Bailey (see pic) - an influential Roman Catholic and ULT board member whose connections stretch from the House of Saud to the Vatican. His selection for the chair of a key Labour initiative - approved by Tony Blair, a close friend, is endorsed by Gordon Brown. ( Interestingly the current version of the Guradian story has this added footnote - This article was amended on June 24 2007. Anthony Bailey has asked us to clarify that he is a public-relations executive, not a 'lobbyist' as we previously wrote in the article above. - Bailey's PR company, Eligo International, counts the Syrian government and the Assad family as well as Saudi royalty among his clients. )
Bailey is a fascinating character (and smarmy get) - whose £500,000 donation to Labour was rejected in controversial circumstances two years ago. (Guradian) - rejected by its chief fundraiser, and pillar of fiscal rectitude, Lord Levy, who allegedly feared the money had come from foreign businessmen - the party later accepted £50,000. - Lots more here
Mr Bailey married the gorgeous pouting blonde, HSH Princess Marie-Therese von Hohenberg of Austria , (great-granddaughter of Archduke Franz Ferdinand whose assassination precipitated WW 1) , earlier this year. Mahmoud tells us he and his wife enjoyed it but Hazel Blears tells said that although invited she was out on her motorbike that weekend.
PS : Toni Fabuloso's mole at the nursery tells us that Sarah Brown is a very good friend of Nicola Mendelsohn. See previous post about working mum Nicola