Lansdowne Founder Now Sir Paul Ruddock

Jan 4 2012 | 2:07am ET

Lansdowne Partners founder Paul Ruddock has been honored for his philanthropy—and, according to critics, his political donations—with a knighthood from the British government.

Ruddock was named a knight commander of the Order of the British Empire, giving him the title "Sir," in the New Years honors list. Ruddock has given millions to London's Victoria & Albert Museum and British Museum, and serves on the board of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. But his firm, Lansdowne Partners, allegedly made more than £100 million for its investors by shorting shares of British banks Northern Rock and HBOS during the credit crisis, earning Ruddock the enmity of the opposition Labour Party and some poison pens from the British press.

In addition to his support for the arts, Ruddock has backed Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative Party with almost £500,000 over the past decade.

Ruddock's knighting "tells you everything you need to know about the Tories' priorities," Labour Shadow Cabinet Office Minister Michael Dugher said. "At a time when millions of families are struggling to get by, it's the Tories' friends in the City who get the rewards."

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