Conservatives received £500,000 donation from crypto lobbyist before crypto push  

Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak speaks during the Conservative Party Spring Conference, at Blackpool Winter Gardens in Blackpool, north-west England on March 18, 2022. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

The Conservative Party received a £500,000 donation from a crypto lobbyist two months before the government announced plans to make the UK a “global cryptoasset technology hub.”

Thailand-based businessman Christopher Harborne donated the amount on 9 February 2022, the Electoral Commission website showed. The Conservatives announced in April their intentions to make the country a global crypto hub. 

“We want this country to be a global hub – the very best place in the world to start and scale crypto-companies,” John Glen, Economic Secretary to the Treasury said on 4 April. Among the measures set out included regulating stablecoins, developing an NFT, and legislations to “help firms innovate”. 

Treasury Secretary Rishi Sunak said, “It’s my ambition to make the UK a global hub for cryptoasset technology.”

The Tories said to Financial News, who first reported the news, that the donation and the government’s crypto measures had no connection. “Government policy is in no way influenced by Party donations – they are entirely separate,” a spokesperson said to the outlet. 

Neither the Conservative Party nor Mr. Harborne immediately responded to a request for comment. 

Harborne, a frequent donor to pro-Brexit party Reform UK, is active in the crypto industry and held shares in crypto exchange Bitfinex’s parent company, crypto news website Protos reported.

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