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Tory MP David Warburton won't face sanction despite breaching rules over £150k loan

The Commons standards watchdog today ruled against David Warburton, the MP for Somerton and Frome, for failing to register a loan

A Tory MP will face no punishment despite being found guilty of breaking parliamentary rules over a £150,000 loan from a Russian-born businessman.

The Commons standards watchdog today ruled against David Warburton, the MP for Somerton and Frome, for failing to register the loan among his financial interests.

They also found another breach of MPs rules over Mr Warburton sending a character reference for Roman Zhukovsky – who had given him the money – to the Financial Conduct Authority.

Mr Warburton is currently suspended from the Conservative Parliamentary Party over separate allegations of sexual harassment and a picture of him allegedly sitting next to lines of cocaine.

In a report by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, Kathryn Stone, Mr Warburton was found to have received the loan in August 2017 from Mr Zhukovsky.

He was paid through an intermediary company registered in the Seychelles, Castlebrook Associates Limited.

It has previously been claimed that the money was intended to help Mr Warburton buy a £1.2million property in Somerset, which he plans to operate as an Airbnb.

The Commons standards watchdog today ruled against David Warburton, the MP for Somerton and Frome, for failing to register a loan

The Commons standards watchdog today ruled against David Warburton, the MP for Somerton and Frome, for failing to register a loan

The MP received £150,000 from Roman Joukovski via an intermediary company registered in Seychelles, Castlebrook Associates Limited

The MP received £150,000 from Roman Joukovski via an intermediary company registered in Seychelles, Castlebrook Associates Limited

In March last year Mr Warburton sent a character reference for Mr Zhukovsky to the Financial Conduct Authority

In March last year Mr Warburton sent a character reference for Mr Zhukovsky to the Financial Conduct Authority

Ms Stone concluded that the loan should have been recorded by Mr Warburton at the time in his register of financial interests.

“I have come to this conclusion because a bystander might reasonably have thought that at the time the loan was granted he had the potential to influence the words or actions of Mr. Warburton,” she said. declared.

The commissioner also found the loan should have been declared when Mr Warburton wrote to the FCA about Mr Zhukovsky in March last year.

“This is because a viewer might reasonably have thought that the loan influenced the words of Mr. Warburton’s reference or influenced Mr. Warburton’s decision to write a reference,” she added.

The Sunday Times previously reported that the letter sent by Mr Warburton was aimed at getting the FCA to reconsider its assessment of Mr Zhukovsky.

The FCA refused to certify the businessman as a ‘fit and suitable person’ in 2014.

But Ms Stone found that the letter written by Mr Warburton ‘did not constitute a paid defence’ as it ‘did not suggest that the FCA should take positive action in relation to Mr Zhukovsky, nor made any statement in the name of Mr Zhukovsky”.

The commissioner also found that the two breaches of the rules committed by Mr. Warburton could be rectified by his written apology and by the late addition of the loan to his register of financial interests.

His report revealed that the MP told him he had not registered the loan at the time because it was ‘totally unrelated to my role as an MP or any parliamentary business’.

Mr Warburton also told Ms Stone that ‘the loan has in no way influenced my words or my actions as an MP’. It couldn’t have done either.”

He currently sits as one of 14 independent MPs in the House of Commons after the Conservative Whip withdrew in April this year.

When a photo emerged of Mr Warburton allegedly sitting next to lines of cocaine earlier this year, he said he had ‘enormous amounts of defence’, but added he could not comment further .

In an update posted to his website last month, Mr Warburton confirmed that he was the subject of several investigations into his conduct and described how “not being able to report these stories was the most experience terribly frustrating and painful”.

Responding to the release of Ms Stone’s report today, Mr Warburton told MailOnline: ‘I fully accept the Commissioner’s findings, including that I did not breach paragraph 12 of the Code of Conduct , and I’m glad the loan is added to the register retrospectively.

“I have sent my apologies to the commissioner for overlooking this and the commissioner now considers this matter closed.

“I am still unable to comment on the ICGS (Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme) investigation, but I hope it will be completed as soon as possible.”

Labor Party leader Anneliese Dodds said: ‘

Anneliese Dodds, Labor Party leader, said: ‘Another week, and more sordidness engulfs the Conservative Party.

“With every scandal, public confidence in our politics is shaken. We need general elections and a fresh start.

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