November 01, 2018
NCA launches investigation into Banks and others linked to £2.9m spent by leave campaign
Arron Banks faces criminal inquiry over Brexit campaign
The National Crime Agency has launched an investigation into Arron Banks and others linked to the leave campaign over suspected criminal offences in the Brexit referendum, prompting calls from some MPs for the process of departing the EU to be suspended.
The Electoral Commission said it had referred the cases to the NCA over suspicions that a “number of criminal offences may have been committed”, and that there were reasonable grounds to suspect that Banks, the insurance millionaire who backed the unofficial leave campaign, was not the “true source” of £8m in funding for it.
Banks and his longtime business associate Elizabeth Bilney, who chaired the Leave.EU campaign, both said they rejected any allegations of wrongdoing, arguing that the investigation was motivated by political considerations.
News of the investigation prompted anti-Brexit campaigners to call for a delay to the departure process. The Labour MP David Lammy said Brexit “must be put on hold until we know the extent of these crimes against our democracy”.
A series of other Labour MPs echoed the call, while the Lib Dems said Brexit could not go ahead based on “a leave campaign littered with lies, deceit and allegations of much worse”.
An Electoral Commission statement said its investigation focused on £2m reported to have been lent to Better for the Country (BFTC), a company that was used to finance Leave.EU, and £6m more reportedly given to the organisation, on behalf of Leave.EU, by Banks.
Of this money, £2.9m was used to fund referendum spending on behalf of Leave.EU.
The Electoral Commission statement said: “Due to multiple suspected offences, some of which fall outside the commission’s remit, the commission has referred this matter and handed its evidence to the National Crime Agency.”
The NCA confirmed it had begun an investigation connected to “suspected electoral law offences covered by that referral, as well as any associated offences”.
It said in a statement: “While electoral law offences would not routinely fall within the NCA’s remit, the nature of the necessary inquiries and the potential for offences to have been committed other than under electoral law led us to consider an NCA investigation appropriate in this instance.”
Banks, formerly a major bankroller of Ukip, said in a statement he was pleased at the news. He said: “I am confident that a full and frank investigation will finally put an end to the ludicrous allegations levelled against me and my colleagues.
“There is no evidence of any wrongdoing from the companies I own. I am a UK taxpayer and I have never received any foreign donations. The Electoral Commission has produced no evidence to the contrary. The Electoral Commission has referred me to the National Crime Agency under intense political pressure from anti-Brexit supporters.”
Bilney told BBC Radio 4’s World at One on Thursday that the Electoral Commission had consistently taken “a biased approach”, saying this was owing to its previous funding from the EU.
Some critics of Banks have speculated whether his business links with Russia could be connected to the referendum campaign funding. Bilney rejected this, saying: “I can confirm it wouldn’t have come from Russia … I run the group companies where the money was from and we don’t have any transactions that are from Russia.”
Those referred to the NCA are Banks, Bilney, BFTC, Leave.EU and what are termed “other associated companies and individuals”.
Downing Street said it would not comment on a live investigation. Asked whether Theresa May remained confident the Brexit vote was fair, a No 10 spokeswoman said: “The referendum was the largest democratic exercise in this country’s history and the PM is getting on with delivering its result.”
Downing Street has previously said that there was no evidence to suggest that there was any Russian interference.
The investigation centres on the suspicion Banks was not the “true source” of the £8m of loans made to BFTC, and that loans involved funds from a “non-qualifying or impermissible company” based in the Isle of Man.
The Electoral Commission statement said the investigation would look into whether Banks, Bilney and others involved in BFTC, Leave.EU and associated companies “concealed the true details of these financial transactions”.
Bob Posner, the Electoral Commission’s director of political finance and regulation, said: “We have reasonable grounds to suspect money given to Better for the Country came from impermissible sources and that Mr Banks and Ms Bilney, the responsible person for Leave.EU, knowingly concealed the true circumstances under which this money was provided.
“This is significant because at least £2.9m of this money was used to fund referendum spending and donations during the regulated period of the EU referendum.
“Our investigation has unveiled evidence that suggests criminal offences have been committed which fall beyond the remit of the commission. This is why we have handed our evidence to the NCA to allow them to investigate and take any appropriate law enforcement action. This is now a criminal investigation.”
In a report on the investigation published alongside its statement, the commission said BFTC spent at least £2.9m of the money in question – £750,000 on payments for Leave.EU and £2.2m donated to other campaigners. Both Leave.EU and BFTC had said all the money came only from Banks, it added.
However, the investigations found parties involved in the transactions included Rock Holding Limited, a company majority-owned by Banks, which is incorporated in the Isle of Man. Under electoral law, companies based outside the UK are not allowed to donate or loan to political campaigns.
When asked about the circumstances, Banks and Bilney “gave us unsatisfactory explanations about these transactions, and we have reasonable grounds to suspect that they knowingly concealed and sought to conceal the true circumstances”, the report said.
Of the money given to other organisations, the report said, £1.9m was donated to Grassroots Out, with smaller sums going to Trade Unionists Against the EU, Ukip, Veterans for Britain, and the TV station Wag TV, which made a pro-Brexit documentary.
Latest News
Top news around the world
Russo-Ukrainian War

The Russo-Ukrainian War has been ongoing between Russia and Ukraine since February 2014.

Russia's war in Ukraine has proven almost every assumption wrong, with Europe now wondering what left is safe to assume.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
Madonna’s most bizarre TikTok and Instagram videos of 2022 | Page Six Celebrity News
December 30, 2022
Ggk_RlohXuI
Teresa Giudice and Luis Ruelas stand by sex multiple times a day: It’s ‘normal’ | Page Six
December 30, 2022
AljKbtgRGnc
Lisa Hochstein shared video confronting Lenny Hochstein & girlfriend at Miami club #shorts | PageSix
December 30, 2022
j_JVk60r6EI
'Channel 5' Creator Andrew Callaghan Talks BTS of 'This Place Rules' Documentary Feature
December 30, 2022
dJit_YG5fjg
#brendanfraser on getting jacked to play 'George of the Jungle' after 'Airheads" with #adamsandler
December 30, 2022
bkwreE4eMRQ
Selena Gomez, Ryan Gosling and Julia Fox Top the List Of Variety's Best Red Carpet Moments Of 2022
December 29, 2022
pv2A-331cLg
Wiz Khalifa Joins Neek Bucks For Upcoming 'Shot Caller' Video | TMZ
December 26, 2022
TxkRr1jj-gk
Andrew Zimmern Says TikTok Recipes Need to Stop This Holiday Season | TMZ
December 26, 2022
DdlO88KfJoY
Top 7 WTF Moments of 2022 | TMZ
December 26, 2022
3JA-5abr6A4
Most HIGHLY ANTICIPATED Movies of 2023 | E! News
January 01, 2023
3-1K1VSRjys
22 Pop Culture Moments That Defined 2022: Link in Comments! #shorts | E! News
December 31, 2022
MNnChuudoSA
Suspect Charged With Murder in Idaho College Killings | E! News
December 31, 2022
aeonRlI5xL0
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur - Aston Villa
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Premier League
Nottingham Forest - Chelsea
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Coventry - Bristol City
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Blackburn - Cardiff City
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Huddersfield - Luton
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Millwall - Rotherham
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Blackpool - Sunderland
31
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester City - Everton
31
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Wolves - Manchester United
31
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Brighton - Arsenal
31
Dec
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Espanyol
31
Dec
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Sociedad - Osasuna
31
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Bournemouth - Crystal Palace
31
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Newcastle United - Leeds
31
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Fulham - Southampton
31
Dec
SPAIN: La Liga
Villarreal - Valencia
30
Dec
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Valladolid - Real Madrid
30
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - Leicester City
30
Dec
ENGLAND: Championship
Birmingham - Hull City
30
Dec
ENGLAND: Championship
Stoke City - Burnley
30
Dec
ENGLAND: Championship
Norwich City - Reading
30
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Ham United - Brentford
30
Dec
ENGLAND: Championship
Swansea City - Watford
30
Dec
SPAIN: La Liga
Celta Vigo - Sevilla
30
Dec
SPAIN: La Liga
Cadiz - Almeria
30
Dec
SPAIN: La Liga
Getafe - Mallorca
29
Dec
SPAIN: La Liga
Atletico Madrid - Elche
29
Dec
ENGLAND: Championship
West Bromwich Albion - Preston NE
29
Dec
ENGLAND: Championship
Blackpool - Sheffield United
28
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Leeds - Manchester City
27
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - Nottingham Forest
27
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Chelsea - Bournemouth
26
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Arsenal - West Ham United
26
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Brentford - Tottenham Hotspur
26
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Aston Villa - Liverpool
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
zWJ3MxW_HWA L1eLanNeZKg i1XRgbyUtOo -g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.