London ball

Russian-born Conservative donor San Marino receives knighthood in ceremony in London

Lubov Chernukhin, whose husband Vladimir served as President Putin’s Deputy Finance Minister before coming to the UK, received the St. Agatha Award – one of San Marino’s highest honors

Mrs. Chernukhin receives St Agnes award

A major conservative donor whose husband is a former Putin ally has received a prestigious honor from the Republic of San Marino.

Lubov Chernukhin, whose husband Vladimir served as President Putin’s deputy finance minister before coming to the UK, has handed over nearly £2million to the Conservative Party since 2012.

Last night she attended a ceremony at the San Marino Consulate in London, where she received the Saint Agatha Prize, one of the Republic’s highest honours.

The event brought together a high-level government delegation from the micro-country, including Captains Regent Francesco Mussoni and Giacomo Simoncini, the two heads of state.

Conservative MP Andrew Rossindell, who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on San Marino, attended the event and delivered a speech.

This morning the delegation met Boris Johnson, whom they described as ‘friendly’.

In a tweet, the consulate said: “A friendly meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

“The San Marino delegation appreciated the support of a great traditional ally, like the #UK, in a post-Brexit era and especially now during the turbulent times the world is going through.”

In another tweet, they said the honors were bestowed “for their distinctive merits in supporting San Marino during the Covid-19 pandemic.”







Ms Chernukhin (front, second from left) at the ceremony last night
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Picture:

@ConsolatoRsmUK/Twitter)


Previous recipients of the St. Agatha Prize include Theresa May, Jeremy Hunt, Ban Ki-Moon, several popes, King Edward VII and King Edward VIII.

The Mirror revealed last week that the Tories pocketed £80,000 from Ms Chernukhin in the weeks before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

made two donations of £13,750 in October and £66,500 in December last year.

The Mirror understands the first payment was for a table at the party’s famous Black and White Ball fundraiser, where wealthy benefactors can rub shoulders with ministers and senior MPs as Boris Johnson waves his donation box to bolster party coffers.

The second donation is considered a successful bid at the event’s auction, where the party sells access to cabinet ministers to the highest bidder.

Ms Chernukhin has repeatedly paid for access to successive prime ministers at the auction, including a cozy evening with Theresa May and a tennis match with Boris Johnson.

Last year’s event saw an hour of cricket play with Rishi Sunak sold for £35,000 – while a karaoke session with Foreign Secretary Liz Truss raised £22,000, although it is currently unknown what Mrs. Chernukhin’s money bought her.

In total, Ms Chernukhin has given almost £2m to the party – and is the biggest political donor in British history.

The £80,000 brings his total donations to the central party and individual Tory MPs for 2021 to £155,225.

There is no suggestion of wrongdoing on the part of Ms Chernukhin, who is a British citizen and has been legally allowed to make political donations since 2012.

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