Leave campaigner Arron Banks facing criminal investigation over Brexit referendum funding

Leave campaigner Arron Banks facing criminal investigation over Brexit referendum funding

Leave campaigner Arron Banks facing criminal investigation over Brexit referendum funding

Arron Banks and other people and groups linked to the leave campaign have been referred to the National Crime Agency for suspected criminal offences in the Brexit referendum, the Electoral Commission has said.

"The Electoral Commission should pursue investigations into donations that Arron Banks made to the Leave campaign, to verify that the money was not sourced from overseas".

As a United Kingdom domiciled taxpayer Mr Banks was "completely permissible to donate money to campaigns as he sees fit", she told BBC Radio 4's The World at One programme.

Banks is the biggest donor in British political history and a co-founder of Leave.EU, a campaign group for Brexit that was fronted by Nigel Farage during the 2016 referendum campaign.

They will also investigate Leave.EU chief Elizabeth Bilney.

'This is significant because at least £2.9 million of this money was used to fund referendum spending and donations during the regulated period of the European Union referendum.

Mr Banks has denied any wrongdoing.

Britain's serious and organised crime police on Thursday opened an investigation into businessman Arron Banks, the main donor to the Brexit campaign, following a referral from election officials.

Banks, who said he was now fishing in Bermuda, said on Thursday he was pleased the matter had been referred to the National Crime Agency (NCA). "Rock holdings is a company I own and control and I'm a United Kingdom tax payer, no Russian or foreign money has ever come into it". The National Crime Agency has now launched a criminal investigation. "Now Aaron Banks is under investigation because Leave.EU stands accused of spending foreign money", Lammy said on Twitter.

The investigation is looking into whether Mr Banks was the true source of the loans and if Better for the Country was the actual source of the donations.

The NCA said its investigation relates to suspected electoral law offences. "The Electoral Commission has produced no evidence to the contrary", he added.

Collins said in a separate statement: "We have evidence of Mr. Banks' discussions with Russian Embassy contacts, including the Russian Ambassador, over potential gold and diamond deals, and the passing of confidential information by Mr Banks".

"I run the group of companies where the money was from and we don't have any transactions that are from Russian Federation", she said.

The statement said it believed that Mr Banks and Ms Bilney "concealed the true details of these financial transactions" and that "a number of criminal offences may have been committed".

The NCA said that which electoral law offences "would not routinely fall within [our] remit, the nature of the necessary inquiries and the potential for offences to have been committed other than under electoral law lead us to consider an NCA investigation appropriate in this instance".

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