Signed: the prime minister’s welcome words to guests from the party brochure
Taking centre stage, sponsoring the Conservative Summer Party was Shore Capital, an investment banking firm chaired by Howard Shore.
Shore’s wife, Andrée, chaired the organising committee. Together they hosted David Cameron, prime minister, Samantha Cameron and eight other guests. Shore Capital’s generosity extended to sponsoring two other tables at the event.
When asked why Shore Capital sponsored the Conservatives’ summer party, a spokesman said: ‘Shore Capital supported the event and made a financial contribution as they believe that the Conservative Party, led by the Prime Minister, are the best party to govern the country.’
The 54-year-old City investment banker has donated £499,330 to the Conservatives. Shore has publicly argued for the UK to withdraw from Europe, the slashing of red tape and was an outspoken critic of the 50p tax rate.
Last month he was a signatory of a letter signed by dozens of leading financial figures calling on the prime minister to ward off attempts by Brussels to regulate the City.
The Cambridge economics graduate founded his City investment firm in 1985 just as Margaret Thatcher was deregulating the Square Mile. Shore Capital is incorporated in Guernsey and has a market capitalisation of £101m. Howard Shore owns 41% of the company.
A one time non-executive director of Tottenham Hotspur, the North London premier league club, Shore resigned in 2003 following a difference of opinion with current chairman Daniel Levy.
One of Shore Capital’s divisions is an corporate advisory service for the energy sector including ‘unconventional hydrocarbons such as shale resources and coal bed methane’.
A senior representative from Cluff Energy, a firm Shore Capital invests in, sat at another of the tables sponsored by the firm. There is no suggestion that any representative from Shore Capital or Cluff Energy discussed policy issues relating to unconventional hydrocarbons at the event – or subsequently.
Also on the table was British Land’s former chairman and chief executive, Sir John Ritblat, whose wealth is estimated by the Sunday Times at £180m.
According to the seating plan obtained by the Bureau, sitting next to Samantha Cameron was Nicolas Berggruen. The jet-setting, art-loving 52-year-old multi-billionaire juggles his portfolio of private equity investments, real estate holdings and renewable energy interests with his political interests – namely the Institute of Governance think tank.
This year, in partnership with Arianna Huffington, Berggruen launched the World Post, a ‘partnership of the Huffington Post and Berggruen Institute on Governance’. Berggruen attends many major art events and his father was Picasso’s art dealer.
Outside of his native Slovenia, little is known about one of the other guests at the table – Darko Horvat.
Horvat’s wife Petra is a patron of the Tate Gallery, as is host Andrée Shore, and Horvat’s fortune has been estimated at £189m. His wealth derives from the Slovenian privatisation process which has been a subject of controversy.
Reportedly Horvat splits his time between London and Switzerland, where his mother is said to have bought a house in St Moritz for €37m.
A lawyer representing Horvat was asked to comment on his attendance at the Conservative summer party and what he discussed at the event. He declined to comment.