Leave.EU Campaign, Brexiteer Arron Banks Fined $176,000 for Breaking Data Laws

Elias Hubbard
November 9, 2018

Leave.EU and Eldon Insurance, a company owned by Arron Banks, the controversial funder of the Leave.EU campaign, who is now subject to criminal investigations, have been fined a total of £135,000 for breaching data privacy laws.

More than a million emails were said to have been sent between February and July 2017 which included the company's banner and a discount offer for Leave.EU supporters.

The Information Commissioner's Office said in a report to parliament that Eldon Insurance and Leave.EU would each be fined 60,000 pounds ($78,370) for sending Leave.EU subscribers insurance marketing without their consent.

It said it was also investigating allegations that Eldon shared customer data obtained for insurance purposes with Leave.EU.

It included the sending of nearly 330,000 emails to customers of Eldon Insurance - trading as GoSkippy - containing a Leave.EU newsletter, for which the campaign group faces a £15,000 fine.

The Electoral Commission announced last week there were reasonable grounds to suspect that Mr Banks was not the true source of £8m in loans made to the Better for the Country organisation, which ran his group Leave.EU.

Vote Leave was the official pro-Brexit campaign in Britain's 2016 referendum on its European Union membership, in which 52 percent backed quitting the bloc.

Banks, nicknamed Bankski by mischievous campaigners, has faced questions about his relationship with Russian Federation and funding discrepancies in multiple Brexit campaigns.

It follows an investigation into the misuse of personal data by political campaigns.

"We found no evidence that Big Data Dolphins ever actually functioned, and no evidence that Leave.EU, Eldon or any associated companies had transferred any personal data relating to United Kingdom citizens to the UoM".

"We have evidence to show that customers' personal data, in the form of email addresses, held by Eldon was accessed by staff working for Leave.EU and was used to unlawfully send political marketing messages".

"We may never know whether individuals were unknowingly influenced to vote a certain way in either the UK EU referendum or in the United States election campaigns", she said.

The fines "could be significantly higher under data protection law if we find misdeeds", she told the Commons digital, culture, media and sport committee.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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