Tories aided by Monaco hedge fund

CONTROVERSIAL hedge fund manager Jon Wood handed the Conservative party a £500,000 donation two days before the general election in May.

Wood, who runs the Monaco-based SRM Global investment firm, was the Tories’ second most generous corporate supporter during the campaign, data from the Electoral Commission revealed yesterday. News of the gift from one of the City’s most infamous traders will embarrass Prime Minister David Cameron days after incoming Conservative treasurer David Rowland resigned amid publicity about his tax arrangements.

The former UBS banker shot to notoriety in 2005 when he lost a £100m court case against Sir Tom Hunter, the Scottish private equity tycoon, relating to their investment in a company called The Gadget Shop. A High Court judge savaged Wood as “unreliable”, “evasive” and a “very hard and calculating man”.

More recently, Wood was among Northern Rock shareholders whose request to sue the government for damages was rejected by the Supreme Court. Wood saw the majority of his £50m investment wiped out in 2008.