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Latest 21 May 2024

Secretive Tory dining club bags another £50,000 from firm linked to German far-right

Henning Conle is reported to have given illegal donations to German far-right nationalists Alternative für Deutschland. His company has now given the Carlton Club a total of £200,000.

Henning Conle’s London property firm, Strandbrook, has given another £50,000 to the Carlton Club, making a total of £200,000 which the anonymous dining club can funnel through to the Tories. 

The  warm welcome of these donations comes even though Conle has been reported to be the ultimate source behind illegal donations to the tune of 132,000 (£115,000) to Alternative für Deutschland (AfD). The scandal led to AfD paying a fine of over 400,000 to German authorities.

AfD stands on an Islamophobic, xenophobic and anti-immigration platform – only last week a German court agreed that the party can be monitored as suspected extremists.

The latest donation from Standbrook was made in January 2024, but the Carlton Club only registered it with the Electoral Commission earlier this month.

“What first attracted the backer of a far-right party in Germany to donate to the Tories’ favourite dining club?” asked Good Law Project executive director, Jo Maugham. “And is it him or the Conservative Party that wants his donations obscured by the Carlton Club?”

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The Carlton Club is one of the main dining clubs used to facilitate donations to the Conservative Party, through its status as an unincorporated association.

Unincorporated associations are groups that two or more people can set up without complicated legal structures, which have allowed details of individual donors pumping millions into Westminster to remain entirely hidden.

We recently revealed how unincorporated associations such as the Carlton Club have poured over £3m into the Tories’ coffers since Rishi Sunak became prime minister.

We’ve approached the Conservative Party and the Carlton Club for comment. We’ve also gone to Strandbrook Ltd for comment through the company’s secretary, WSM Services.