Cambridge accepted over £6 million from wanted businessman
“Cambridge should be thinking long and hard about whether it should have accepted this money.”
It was revealed by The Times earlier this week that Cambridge had been accepting money from Dmitry Firtash, a Ukranian Oligarch who has been charged with corruption due to allegations of bribery.
It has since been discovered that the University accepted over £6 million from him. A Cambridge University spokesperson said that this money has been frozen “until legal proceedings are complete”, and that at the time the money was “was fully investigated and approved by the university’s advisory committee on benefactions.”
Firtash and his wife, through registering a charity in the UK by the name of the ‘Firtash Foundation’, which is designed to promote the study of Ukranian culture, has been linked with many eminent English figures: Saatchi&Saatchi, Lord Peter Mandelson, and QC Lord Macdonald of River Glaven.
Firtash has been told that he must face trial in Chicago. He was also arrested on a Spanish extradition warrant, due to allegations of money laundering in property deals in Barcelona.
Firtash and his lawyers still deny these allegations, arguing that the US are politically motivated against him due to his ties to Russia.
The donations from Firtash to the University are made up of a £4.3 million sum from 2010 to set up a course in Ukrainian studies, as well as sustained donations between 2010 – 2012 for Ukranian students doing a masters at Cambridge.
Donations since then have included a sum of £1.95 million in 2013 to finance a lecturer position.
Robert Barrington, of Transparency International UK, a global anti-corruption movement, said that “Making donations to prestigious institutions has become a standard way for oligarchs to launder their reputations.”. He also said that there are gaping issues with how the anti-money-laundering procedures work with regards to universities.
He criticised the university, arguing that “Cambridge should be thinking long and hard about whether it should have accepted this money.”