NEW figures from the Electoral Commission reveal that the secretive Scottish Unionist Association Trust (SUAT) at the heart of a “dark money” row donated another £12,424.72 to the Scottish Tories in the last three months of 2018.

Since 2001, the trust has donated £350,187.66 to the party, but there have a number of questions over where that money came from.

Because the SUAT is not registered with Companies House, the Financial Conduct Authority, or OSCR – Scotland’s charity watchdog – there is no public information available about the people who currently manage the organisation, and no public accounts to indicate donors, or assets.

Last year the SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford left Theresa May squirming when he brought up the trust in the House of Commons.

He said the Tories were “systematically shielding their donations from public scrutiny”.

About an hour after that exchange, the SUAT released a statement through the PR company of trustee Peter Duncan (above), a former Tory MP. It revealed that the trust was formed in 1968 from “assets of the [then] Scottish Unionist Association, primarily sales of property assets”.

SUAT added that those assets had been invested and the proceeds were now “available to further the aims of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party.

It insisted: “All UK taxation liabilities have been and continue to be met in full.”

The chairman of the SUAT is Robert Miller-Bakewell, who is also the chairman of the Scottish Borders Conservative and Unionist Association.

He is an investment analyst and racecourse director and a former consultant at Merrill Lynch, the Bank of America’s wealth management division. He was formerly a member of the Tory executive in 2000 but left in a furious row over infighting.

The Electoral Commission figures also revealed that the Tories had taken £146,750 of donations in November and December from Lubov Chernukhin, the wife of one of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s former ministers, eight months after the Skripal poisonings.

The party also took £150,000 from Ann Said, the wife of Syrian-born former arms dealer Wafic Said, a family friend of Bashar Assad, who has been banned from donating because he is a tax resident in Monaco.

While the Tories took in almost £7.4m in total in three months, Labour took in just £1.6m, with trade union donations falling to an 18-year low.

The SNP took in £15,240 in gifts from three donors over the three-month period. The Scottish Greens registered £48,541 over the same period, with donations coming from the party’s six MSPs.

Meanwhile, SNP MP Martin

Docherty-Hughes used a debate in the House of Commons to ask the Government about the use of unincorporated associations to discreetly funnel money into political parties.

The MP raised Richard Cook, chair of the Constitutional Research Council, the group behind a controversial £435,000 donation to the DUP, describing him as a “fraudster” and “cowboy”.