|(Top) Clegg, Choudhrie
Feb. 15: British deputy PM Nick Clegg faced embarrassment last evening after it emerged that he used official government residences to entertain a major donor who was arrested this week over bribery allegations.
The deputy Prime Minister and his wife, Miriam, hosted the family charity of Sudhir Choudhrie and his son, Bhanu, who were arrested in connection with an investigation into allegations of bribery by Rolls-Royce.
Choudhrie and his son are thought to have given the party more than £1 million in recent years.
They were detained on Wednesday as part of a Serious Fraud Office investigation into alleged bribery in Indonesia and China.
The father and son were granted bail without conditions after being questioned at a London police station.
In 2011, Clegg and his wife hosted an event for Path To Success, the Choudhrie family’s charity, at Lancaster House, a property of the government estate.
Aides said that Clegg had also met Choudhrie at Chevening, the deputy Prime Minister’s official country residence.
The Choudhries have regularly attended other events alongside Clegg and other senior Liberal Democrats, according to The Guardian.
Both men have denied any wrongdoing and a representative last night said they were cooperating fully with the fraud office investigation.
It also emerged yesterday that Simon Hughes, the Lib Dem justice minister, received a £60,000 donation from Sudhir Choudhrie in November.
Choudhrie Senior had been on a list of potential nominations from Clegg’s office to become a Lib Dem peer. However, his name was not put forward last year.
Choudhrie Senior was born in India but lives in Chelsea in west London. Bhanu Choudhrie is chief executive of the family business, C&C Alpha Group, which runs UK care homes through a subsidiary. The Serious Fraud Office is understood to be investigating whether Sudhir Choudhrie was an intermediary used by Rolls-Royce in alleged bribes.
“The Choudhrie family are long-term party supporters and donors. Sudhir Choudhrie has met Nick Clegg and other senior party figures on a number of occasions,” a Lib Dem aide said. He added: “All appropriate checks were made before any donations were accepted.”