Friday, April 22, 2016
Today’s Sunday Times notes that Poju Zabludowicz – a major donor to David Cameron’s Conservative Party – was involved in an offshore scheme managed by a firm involved in the ‘Panama Papers’ scandal.
Zabludowicz’s co-investor in this scheme – controversial businessman Scot Young – was found impaled on the railings outside his London flat in 2014. An inquest on Young’s death found insufficient evidence of suicide, and his family suspected he had been murdered. Young’s ex-wife believed that he had used supposed losses on his business project with Zabludowicz to hide tens of millions of pounds during their divorce: a judge agreed and awarded Young’s ex-wife £20m in 2013, but she had yet to receive a penny by the time Young died a year later.
In 2005 Zabludowicz’s trust gave £15,000 to David Cameron’s successful campaign for the Tory leadership, and has since given a series of donations to the Conservative Party totalling almost £300,000.
So far, so bad.
But what the Sunday Times for some reason omits from the story is, in many ways, the most interesting part. Poju Zabludowicz is not just any billionaire: he is arguably the most important individual in Israel’s UK lobbying effort.
Zabludowicz – whose family fortune was built up by his arms dealer father Shlomo, founder of Israel’s main artillery manufacturer – set up BICOM (the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre) in 2002. BICOM’s best known project in recent years is ‘We Believe in Israel’, which works to combat campaigns for boycotts of Israeli products. The quarterly BICOM magazine Fathom is perhaps the leading journal of the pro-Israel lobby. Its deputy editor is former Israeli embassy official and ‘security’ expert Calev Ben-Dor, who though based in Israel was recently advertising among British parliamentary staff for a BICOM ‘research analyst’.
BICOM’s ‘senior visiting fellow’ is retired Brig. Gen. Michael Herzog, who since the 1990s has been a top adviser to the Israeli government and a special emissary for the Israeli Prime Minister.
BICOM has frequently offered well-paid positions to British political figures. Its present chief executive is James Sorene, who was official spokesman for Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg from 2011 to 2015. His predecessor was Dermot Kehoe, formerly a senior adviser to the BBC and partner of the gay Labour MP David Cairns, a former Roman Catholic priest who chaired Labour Friends of Israel.
Soon after Kehoe’s appointment, BICOM had to cope with revelations about funding supplied by Zabludowicz and other BICOM linked figures to Adam Werrity, the very close friend of Defence Secretary Liam Fox. These revelations (which H&D reported at the time) contributed to Fox’s resignation in October 2011.
Nor is Zabludowicz the only link between the Panama Papers scandal, Britain’s Prime Minister and the Zionist lobby. Prime Minister Cameron’s late father, stockbroker Ian Cameron, used Mossack Fonseca’s offshore facilities to hide the investments of Isidore Kerman, a London solicitor and fixer who was right-hand man to Mossad asset and fraudster Robert Maxwell from his earliest days in business.
Kerman had been an influential operative for international Zionism since the 1930s, and was a business partner of chief Scotland Yard detective Sir Ronald Howe.