MURDO Fraser's bid to lead the Scottish Tories is being bankrolled by a secretive Swiss-born financier with links to right-wing pressure groups.

Fraser took £5000 at the start of his leadership campaign from Flowidea Ltd, controlled by reclusive millionaire stockbroker Henry Angest.

The same company has given cash to controverisal groups, including The Atlantic Bridge, the charity set up by the tarnished former Defence Secretary Liam Fox.

Flowidea has also funded groups which are sceptical about the UK’s membership of the Europe Union and man-made climate change.

The donation to Fraser, declared in Electoral Commission records, is the first glimpse of the tens of thousands of pounds being pumped into the Scottish Tory leadership race.

A past master of the Worshipful Company of International Bankers, Angest is a publicity-shy ex-treasurer of the UK Conservatives, but remains one of its biggest donors.

Since 2001, Flowidea has given £1.4 million to the Tories, while Angest’s private bank, Arbuthnot Latham, has loaned the party a further £5m.

The 71-year-old recently com- plained that bankers were being “demonised” by politicians, and called the £2.5 billion bankers’ bonus levy “grossly unfair”.

Flowidea offered the cash to Fraser’s leadership drive in August, before the Mid-Scotland and Fife MSP had officially entered the race.

At the time, Fraser had already settled on his campaign platform: a pledge to axe the “toxic” Scottish Tory brand if elected and start a new party of the centre-right instead.

Fraser accepted Flowidea’s £5000 on September 9, four days after he launched his campaign to replace Tory leader Annabel Goldie.

Angest, a former lawyer, became a British citizen in 1985. Through Flowidea, he has funded an array of right-wing pressure groups, many opposed to the UK’s membership of the European Union.

In 2006, Flowidea gave £2000 to the Freedom Association, which campaigns for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, and has offered a platform to sceptics of so-called “climate change alarmism”.

The following year, Flowidea donated £1000 to The Atlantic Bridge, a charity founded by Liam Fox which fostered closer links with the US and was accused of being a neo-conservative front. The charity denied this, but was later wound up for being too political.

Its UK executive director was Adam Werritty, Fox’s former flatmate, whose special access to the Defence Secretary resulted in a breach of the ministerial code and Fox’s resignation last week.

In 2008, Flowidea gave £10,000 to Global Britain, a Eurosceptic “geo-political think tank” co-founded by Lord Pearson of Rannoch, ex-leader of the UK Independence Party.

The same year, Flowidea gave £5000 to a failed campaign by Eurosceptic millionaire Stuart Wheeler to force the then Labour government to hold a referendum on ratifying the Lisbon Treaty, which replaced the European constitution.

Over the past decade, Flowidea and Angest personally have given around £35,000 to the local Tory parties in Perthshire and Tayside, where Fraser has his political base.

Fraser, current deputy leader of the Scots Tories, is competing for the leadership with three other MSPs – Jackson Carlaw, Ruth Davidson and Margaret Mitchell – all of whom oppose his idea to scrap the party and start afresh.

Last week the Sunday Herald revealed Davidson’s opponents had jointly demanded an independent investigation into possible bias, and had in turn been challenged to produce evidence.

The new Tory leader will be named on November 4.

Mike Weir, the SNP MP for Angus, said: “Murdo Fraser wants a new party, but it seems he is still happy to take donations from the same old Tory sources.”

A spokesman for Fraser said: “Murdo’s proposal attracts support from all corners of the business community … those people will inevitably have differing political viewpoints.”