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Eddie Mair | 15:12 UK time, Tuesday, 21 October 2008


An email arrives from Nick Baker: "So what shall we call this? The Mendelson, Osborne, Rothchild, Oleg Deripaska saga? Aluminum Gate?"

Your suggestion is welcome.

If you care, there is a transcript of Mr Osborne's news conference after the jump.

Q: Mr Osborne, can you just clear this up? Were you at any stage involved in conversations about a donation with this Russian billionaire or indeed on his behalf from any of his British companies?

OSBORNE: Well, a very pacific allegation has been made that we solicited a donation from Mr Deripaska and I want make it absolutely clear that we neither asked for money nor did we receive money

Q: But I've asked you a general question about weather you were involved in conversation at any time about a donation from him or his companies?

OSBORNE: People make suggestions on behalf of other people about donations to the conservative party like all political parties but, we have very rigorous checks and we make it absolutely clear that donations have to be legal and I come back to this central point which is now we neither solicited a donation to Mr Deripaska, we didn't ask for the money and we didn't receive any.

Q: But the Conservative Party did discuss a possible donation with Mr Deripaska?

OSBORNE: Well, as I say people make suggestions all the time about donations to the Conservative Party but we're absolutely clear and rigorous that the donations have to be legal ant the central allegation here is I solicited a donation from Mr Derepaska or Andrew Feldman solicited a donation from Mr Deripaska, that is not true, we did not ask for the money and we didn't receive any.

Q: You haven't denied Mr Osborne, have you, you considered, you discussed, maybe with a third party, not necessarily the Russian billionaire himself the possibility of a donation from him?

OSBORNE: Well, the allegation put to me was that we discussed with...

Q: Your still not denying it ..... I am putting the allegation to you as it were which derives from these other allegations

OSBORNE: Gary, Gary, Alex I'll take your question if you want...

Q: The question is, why would you be meeting a Russian oligarch who put you in the situation you are in today? You've solicited a donation that you have now denied? (very muffled question)

OSBORNE: Well, I was invited onto Mr Deripaska boat on two occasions by a mutual friend, the first occasion I was with Peter Mandelson, the second occasion I was with Andrew Feldman, both occasion we went for a drink, on both occasions it lasted about an hour, on both occasion we neither asked for money, we didn't solicit a donation and we didn't receive and money subsequently.

Q: But why would you meet with somebody like that?

Q: Just to clarify then, did you discuss it with other people, with third parties the possibility of a donation from this Russian billionaire, you say you didn't discuss it with him ....

OSBORNE: Political parties are offered donations sometimes by intermediaries, all the time, I'm going to get into a detailed running commentary of all the offers that are made to us. What the public are entitled to know is weather we accept donations and weather we explain to people exactly how to make a legal donation, in this case as I say, we neither asked for any money, that is the central allegation, we neither solicited a donation, nor did we receive any money.

OSBORNE: I'm going to take two more questions.

Q: Have you been involved in any attempts to get this story out to smear Peter Mandelson and what do you think that Rothschild's motivation is in writing this letter to the Times.

OSBORNE: Well, I can only speak for my meetings with Mr Deripaska and that's what I'm doing to you today (muffled here) later today I will publish a clear chronology of all the times, there aren't many that I met with Mr Deripaska in Corfu, I will publish exactly when I met him, how long I met him and by the way I invite Peter Mandelson to do exactly the same.

Q: So your not denying smearing him?

OSBORNE: I don't think the question arises.

Q: Do you regret crossing Peter Mandelson and leaking allegedly the details of his private thoughts on Gordon Brown?

OSBORNE: Well, I certainly regret all the fuss and misunderstanding that has come around this trip to Corfu but let me make it absolutely clear because the important thing is the allegation and the allegation is that I solicited a donation and Andrew Feldman solicited a donation from Mr Deripaska, we did not, we neither asked for money, nor did we receive any. In the journalists profession they say, follow the money, well in this case there is no money to follow.

Q/NR: The question is your judgement in this Mr Osborne?


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