Millionaire Brexit-backer investigated over European Union referendum funding

Marco Green
November 3, 2017

The Electoral Commission has announced that it will look into whether Banks, a former Ukip donor and Leave.EU chairman, committed offences over donations or loans made to campaigners during the vote.

Bradshaw said he was also concerned about what he said were significant British connections in the USA investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian efforts to meddle in the presidential election.

Separately, Mr Banks loaned £6million of his own money to the Leave.EU campaign spearheaded by ex-Ukip leader Nigel Farage.

Pro-EU MPs have expressed concern about foreign interference in Western elections, with parliamentary investigations looking into whether Russian Federation had a hand in influencing the referendum or June's general election.

He said in a statement: "The Leave.EU campaign was funded by myself, Peter Hargreaves and the general public". Five registered campaigners reported donations from BFTCL during the referendum campaign period.

"The Guardian allegations of Brexit being funded by the Russians and propagated by Ben Bradshaw are complete bollocks".

'My sole involvement with the "Russians" was a boozy six-hour lunch with the ambassador where we drank the place dry (they have some cracking vodka and brandy).

The release goes on to say that a proper "judge-led inquiry reporting to Parliament that investigates the main campaign groups ... would be the best way to clear this nonsense up once and for all".

"Questions over the legitimacy of funding provided to campaigners at the referendum risks causing harm to voters" confidence.

'The Remain "Electoral Commission" isn't up to the job and consists of political place men from all main parties'.

But Mr Banks immediately dismissed the potential consequences of the investigation, tweeting: "Gosh I'm terrified".

Arron Banks, a major donor to the anti-EU campaign who was pictured with Donald Trump and leading Brexiteer Nigel Farage outside a gilded elevator soon after Trump's 2016 US presidential election victory, denied the allegations.

The commission will investigate whether Better for the Country was the true source of donations made to referendum campaigners in its name, or if it was "acting as an agent" for a third party.

Whether or not Better for the Country Limited was the true source of donations made to referendum campaigners in its name, or if it was acting as an agent.

What steps the recipients took to verify the identity and permissibility of Better for the Country Limited as a donor.

The investigation will also consider whether "any individual facilitated a transaction with a non-qualifying person" in the process of making the donations.

In the June 23, 2016 referendum, 17.4 million votes, or 51.9 percent of votes cast, backed leaving the European Union while 16.1 million votes, or 48.1 percent of votes cast, backed staying, a result that defied opinion polls.

Banks, a multi-millionaire insurance tycoon, helped to bankroll the unofficial Leave.EU group, which is credited with mobilising millions of people who do not typically vote and ultimately swinging the result in favour of Leave.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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