Vaughan Gething walked off after being asked questions by a journalist

A company that bankrolled Vaughan Gething's successful bid to become Wales' First Minister was linked to a criminal investigation at the time, it has emerged. As part of his leadership bid to become Welsh Labour leader he accepted £200,000 from a firm controlled by millionaire businessman David Neal.

BBC Wales Investigates has found a criminal investigation into suspected environmental offences by one of Mr Neal's firms, Resources Management Limited (RML), is being carried out by Natural Resources Wales (NRW). RML runs the Withyhedge landfill site near Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, which people have complained since October 2023 is a "stink bomb on steroids".

A BBC journalist tried to ask Mr Gething about the donation during the First Minister's visited to the Urdd Eisteddfod last week but he declined to answer saying he had already answered questions but would answer more in the Senedd. Mr Gething then walked off, ignoring further questions.

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NRW says it has identified the smell as hydrogen sulphide. Their head of operations for southwest Wales Huwel Manley said the regulator was working with the local council, health board, and Public Health Wales to fix the issues. "We identified issues of concern late last year. The company is under investigation at the moment," he said.

In a statement Mr Neal said he would "continue to fully cooperate with any pending investigations by Natural Resources Wales" and the company was "working to stop the smells”. In relation to the donations the statement added: “We have never requested or expected anything in return.

It has also emerged, via the programme, that Welsh health minister Eluned Morgan and former climate change minister Julie James both had meetings with the regulator about problems at Withyhedge in February prior to Mr Gething's election as Welsh Labour leader. The programme is also reporting a senior Welsh Labour figure offered to loan Mr Gething the money to allow him to pay back the donation but the First Minister turned it down. He has had the backing of senior party figures including shadow secretary of state Jo Stevens and party leader Sir Keir Starmer.

A spokesman for Welsh Labour said the issues had "previously been addressed by Vaughan Gething and are a matter of public record". On Wednesday, June 5, there will be a no confidence in Mr Gething's leadership tabled by the Welsh Conservatives.

BBC Wales Investigates: A Big Stink is available now on iPlayer and BBC One Wales at 8pm on Monday, June 3.