Talks with Tycoon Were a Mistake, Says Osborne; Regret: George Osborne Said He Would No Longer Be Involved in Talks with Potential Party Donors

Article excerpt

Byline: NICHOLAS CECIL

SENIOR Tory MP George Osborne today admitted making a "mistake" with his links to Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska.

The shadow chancellor also confirmed he will no longer get involved in talks with potential donors to avoid any risksof conflictsof interests.

Mr Osborne's decision and frankness heaped pressure on Lord Mandelson to give a full account of his dealings with the Russian aluminium tycoon.

The MP told BBC Radio 4's World at One: "I think I did make a mistake. In politics, it's not just what you say or what you do, it's how things look. And if I'm absolutely honest, this did not look very good and I regret that." He insisted, though, that he had not broken any rules or solicited a ?50,000 donation to the Tories from Mr Deripaska.

Lord Mandelson was accused of hypocrisy today as he came under growing pressure to reveal fully his links with the Russian billionaire.

MPs were stunned by a call from the Business Secretary for Russian bankers to show greater transparency.

The peer is facing questions from London, Brussels and Moscow over his relationship with Mr Deripaska, who entertained him on his ?80 million yacht off Corfu this summer. …