Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick met Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer in 2018 while assessing whether to offer state support to his rival’s new potash mine, according to reports.
Ofer, whose father Sammy was Israel’s richest man, owns Cleveland Potash, and The Guardian reported that he met then Treasury Minister Jenrick on 21 March 2018, while Jenrick was weighing up state support for a potash mine owned by Ofer’s rival – Sirius Minerals.
The government ultimately chose not to support the Sirius mine and the company was later gobbled up by a conglomerate. Jenrick said he recused himself from the decision, although he did not say when.
Several months later, in 2019, Ofer donated £10,000 to the Conservative Party.
It is the latest controversy to surround Jenrick, who earlier this year “insisted” ministry officials approve a huge London housing development by Conservative Party donor Richard Desmond. Demond later gave the Conservatives £12,000.
The timing and nature of Jenrick’s insistence has raised eyebrows, since it was against the advice of officials and because the lucrative scheme would have been hit with a £45 million tax bill had the decision been delayed by just one day.