The Scottish Conservatives have not ruled out accepting future donations from PB Devco after the company’s operations director was caught up in a drug-dealing scandal.
Paul Clarkson, 42, was convicted last week of dealing cocaine at Draft Project, one of the family firm’s eight city venues.
Headed up by Paul’s father Stuart, PB Devco also owns bars and restaurants including Soul, the Howff and the Bieldside Inn.
It previously donated £20,000 to the Scottish Conservatives, although Paul Clarkson has never personally made a donation.
However, in the wake of the conviction and a number of controversial incidents where venues operated by the firm were alleged to have breached Covid-19 rules, the party is facing pressure to turn down future cash.
A spokesman said future donations “will be considered on a case to case basis.”
‘Tories must commit to no more donations’
Labour MSP Mercedes Villalba called on Tory chiefs to “commit to taking no further donations” from the firm.
Company accounts and electoral commission records show PB Devco donated the money to the party in the 2017/18 financial year.
It comes amid pressure from opposition parties about donations to the Conservatives after it emerged last week the party had accepted £20,000 from a north-east firm involved in a “blackfish” scandal.
Fraserburgh-based Unity Fishing was implicated in an elaborate £23 million scam to evade fishing quotas in 2012.
Cash is ‘tainted’
“The cash the Scottish Tories have pocketed from both these companies is tainted – and in both cases they should now return the money,” Audrey Nicoll, the SNP MSP for Aberdeen South and North Kincardine, said.
“If they don’t then people will be entitled to draw their own conclusions about the Tories and the kind of party they are becoming under Douglas Ross.
“This is now a test of leadership for Mr Ross. The only acceptable thing is for him to order that this cash is handed back.”
‘Difficult time’ for PB Devco family
The 42-year-old was found with £1,600 worth of cocaine at Draft Project on November 12 last year following a tip-off to police.
Officers also found self-seal bags and incriminating WhatsApp messages dating back more than a year, which indicated he had been supplying drugs while at work.
On the same night the venue was the centre of controversy after footage emerged of punters breaking Covid rules as Scotland beat Serbia to reach Euro 2020.
In court last Monday, he claimed he had not dealt drugs for financial gain but to fund his own habit.
He will be sentenced next month.