Liz Truss’s chief of staff has been interviewed by the FBI about an alleged criminal plot to bribe a US politician and influence an election, the Sunday Times reports.
Mark Fullbrook – the prime minister’s most senior aide – is linked to banker Julio Herrera Velutini who is accused of trying to bribe the governor of Puerto Rico, promising to help their re-election if a regulator investigating his bank was sacked.
The PM’s chief of staff was paid by Velutini for research on Puerto Rico’s elections. The Telegraph reports that Fullbrook’s spokesperson said he has been only ever been treated as a witness in the matter by the FBI and has cooperated fully with inquiries.
However, Sarawak Report – which first broke the story with Channel 4 about Fullbrook’s links with Velutini – claim to have evidence that Fullbrook and two others “were instructed by UK National Crime Agency to submit to interviews by FBI investigators in London in April as ‘Subjects’ of that investigation, meaning that far from being mere witnesses they were regarded as being directly involved in the alleged affair and potentially vulnerable to being criminally charged as well.”
The case “throws up troubling questions about the integrity” of No 10’s new chief of staff, says, Sarawak Report which further claims Truss’s chief of staff denied his former employer – Sir Lynton Crosby’s CT Group – had ever worked on behalf of the governor of Puerto Rico, stating: “This was later disproved by the devastating contents of the indictment released last month.”
Channel 4 news tweeted that the pressure is mounting on Truss’s chief of staff “as details emerge about his alleged involvement in a Puerto Rico election bribery case.
“There is no suggestion he and CT Group, the political consultancy he was working for, knew anything about the alleged bribery.”
Sir Lynton Crosby and the chief of staff
Former head of Tory party campaigning, Fullbrook was only appointed Downing Street chief of staff this month, having ran Truss’s successful leadership campaign to become prime minister. He was also director of Boris Johnson’s campaign to topple Theresa May and takeover No 10 in 2019, as well as his London mayoral campaigns.
Fullbrook’s LinkedIn profile states he is “acknowledged as an expert campaigner and strategist” and he takes credit too for helping John Major defeat Neil Kinnock in the 1992 general election “with more votes than any UK political party has ever received.”
In 1993 Fullbrook set up “the UK’s premier Conservative political consultancy”, PLS (Parliamentary Liaison Services) and he has worked for “commercial and political” clients in Africa, Asia, Europe “and across the Americas.”
His account states he “specialises in crisis management, grassroots organising, and targeted, research-driven campaigns.”
In 2010 Fullbrook “joined forces” with Sir Lynton Crosby and Mark Textor at CT Group, “applying his skills and expertise to a vast array of challenges” for international “bluechip” companies, individuals, politicians and political parties.
In May, Crosby became embroiled in the windfall tax on energy companies’ profits furore when the Liberal Democrats asked if Johnson’s government had discussed the matter with Crosby, whose clients include energy companies.
Before their U-turn, Johnson’s administration was set against a windfall tax and his MPs even voted against Labour’s motion to introduce one. Questions were also raised about Crosby’s relationship with David Canzini, the Downing Street deputy chief of staff at the time (May 2022). Right-wing free marketer Canzini was reported to have resisted the “un-Conservative” windfall tax “super hard”. He was working at Crosby’s CT Group up until January 2022. In February he was hired by Johnson.