Ministers award £300,000 takeover intelligence contract to firm part-owned by Tory MP

A DATA intelligence company partially owned by an influential Tory backbencher has gained a central authority agreement to monitor foreign takeovers of British companies, beneath new regulations to reduce Chinese Language and Russian influence.

Tom Tugendhat, the chairman of the overseas affairs make a choice committee, is a shareholder in Business Funding Research Ltd, which trades as Beauhurst.

The Telegraph can screen that the corporate has been awarded a £308,000 agreement for company screening services and products through the Funding Safety Unit (ISU), a brand new agency within the Department for Industry.

The ISU is the spearhead of the National Security and Funding Act, which got here into force this month. 

It objectives to investigate international funding and predatory takeovers within the UNITED KINGDOM from opposed powers, notably China and Russia, amid emerging legit fear that chopping-edge technology and economic influence are being lost.

Mr Tugendhat’s shareholding in Beauhurst is probably going to lift questions over potential conflicts among his business pursuits and paintings as an MP on behalf of ingredients. 

In his function as chairman of the overseas affairs select committee, he was a leading voice calling for extra scrutiny of overseas investment in debates that resulted in the establishment of the ISU.

Publishing a report by way of the overseas affairs select committee closing 12 months at the deliberate legislation Mr Tugendhat warned there has been a “possibility of the reporting system being beaten”.

He has also intervened in takeovers elevating national safety concerns. Before Christmas Mr Tugendhat wrote to the Industry Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, calling for him to scrutini the £5.4bn takeover of the satellite tv for pc operator Inmarsat by an American rival. Final yr he also criticised the Chinese Language bid for a Welsh semiconductor manufacturer, Newport Wafer Fab.

Mr Tugendhat, who has been chairman of the international affairs committee on the grounds that 2017 and declares his shareholding in Beauhurst within the Commons Sign Up Of Financial Interests, did not reply to requests for comment.

The Conservative MP for Tonbridge and Malling is the most distinguished investor in  Beauhurst and has held shares considering that prior to he become an MP in 2015, according to his declaration within the Commons Sign Up Of Economic Pursuits. 

Other investors come with Charlie Songhurst, former technique officer of Microsoft, the tech entrepreneur Toby Austin, the lawyer Stephen Bence and the divorce solicitor Ayesha Vardag.
 
Mr Tungendhat and Industry Funding Research Ltd did not reply to repeated requests for remark.
 
The ISU was introduced weeks ago and has new powers to analyze and intrude in investments, mergers and acquisition of belongings in, or associated with, the uk that would harm national security.
 
The industry minister, Lord Callinan, said last month: “it is an unavoidable reality that a handful of traders want to do us hurt. In the united kingdom we see ever extra inventive threats to our national safety.”

Lord Callanan Business minister Lord Callanan

 The New law calls for certain acquisitions of companies in the 17 so much sensitive sectors of the financial system to be notified and authorized of by way of the ISU before they’re finished, significantly in defence, artificial intelligence, civil nuclear, computing hardware, satellite era and energy. 

It targets to stop antagonistic overseas intelligence businesses from the use of strategic ownership of, or influence over, positive UK corporations and assets to spy on, threaten and disrupt the united kingdom economic system.
 
however the ISU has been criticised by means of analysts for no longer specifically defining those threats to national security and that those contracts indicate “a creeping privatisation” of intelligence-amassing. 

Even As the ISU is staffed by way of Overseas Office civil servants, such monitoring of overseas economic espionage in the UK has been the responsibility of MI5 and the National Crime Agency.
 
The Principle £3.4m settlement used to be presented to the u.s. due diligence corporate Exiger to offer services and products to help assess a international corporate’s national safety dangers. Exiger’s former local director used to be Lisa Osofsky, now head of the serious Fraud Place Of Work.
 
Mr Tugendhat has additionally been a shareholder in AccuRx Ltd, an information analytics corporate which goals to improve the accuracy of antibiotic prescribing, seeing that April 2019. Considering That last September Mr Tugendhat has been an unpaid chairman and director of the China Research Group Ltd which considers the lengthy-term demanding situations coming up from China.

a central authority spokesman mentioned: “Following an open and competitive comfortable procedure, Beauhurst used to be appointed to give a boost to our work to spot industry transactions that may lift nationwide security considerations. Ministers were not concerned in the choice to award this settlement”.

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