THE Liberal Democrats last night denied that any money from a controversial £2.4m donation made by a Swiss-based businessman had been used to campaign in a seat the party won narrowly from Plaid Cymru.
New Ceredigion MP Mark Williams defeated his Plaid predecessor Simon Thomas by just 219 votes in May's general election.
Yesterday the constituency's Plaid AM Elin Jones questioned whether any foreign donations had been used to finance their general election campaign.
Last week the Electoral Commission confirmed it was investi-gating whether the £2.4m donation made to the Liberal Democrats by 5th Avenue Partners breached the law banning political parties from taking money from foreign donors.
Ms Jones said, "Political parties in the UK have long known that foreign donations are illegal. Funding of campaigns must be totally transparent in order to gain the confidence of the electorate. I'm sure the people of Ceredigion want to know whether foreign donations funded any part of the Lib-Dems' recent expensive campaign.
"Big-business donations like these may explain the newly-found privatisation policies emerging from Liberal Democrat leaders - policies which include attempts to privatise the postal service - which will have a devastating effect on rural areas such as Ceredigion."
A spokesman for the Welsh Liberal Democrats said, "None of the Ceredigion election campaign money came from Michael Brown. People in Ceredigion gave generously of their time and money in helping to fund a very successful campaign. One of the reasons we were so confident of winning Ceredigion is because of the amount of fundraising done on the ground in the constituency.
"It's a shame that Plaid Cymru are still struggling to come to terms with their rejection by the people of Ceredigion. Will they ever get over the fact that they lost a seat they thought was safe? Rather than addressing their own failings, Plaid seem intent on knocking the Lib-Dems."
If the Electoral Commission finds against the Lib-Dems, the party will be forced to return the money, triggering a financial crisis.
Michael Brown, the owner of 5th Avenue Partners, said last week he felt "totally let down" by the party, which he claimed had made only cursory checks before taking his company's money.
"If the people who handled my donation were elected to run the economy, I would not be happy - it would be disastrous," he said.