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Banks Defiant as Remainer-dominated Commission Refers Leave.EU to Crime Agency

Banks Defiant as Remainer-dominated Commission Refers Leave.EU to Crime Agency

Leave.EU originally competed against Vote Leave to be the official campaign group supporting Britain's exit of the European Union, but the Electoral Commission selected the latter.

In a statement, Britain's Electoral Commission said it suspected the huge donation to the Leave.EU campaign came not from Banks - who met with Alexander Yakovenko, Vladimir Putin's United Kingdom envoy, on at least four occasions - but "from impermissible sources".

Leave.EU, co-founded by Mr Banks, its chief executive Elizabeth Bilney and the organisation that ran it, Better for the Country, are also being investigated by the NCA after a review carried out by the Electoral Commission.

The Electoral Commission, an independent body set up to ensure electoral rules are respected, said its investigation had focused on the £2-million reported to have been loaned to BFTC by Banks and his insurance companies.

Better for the Country was the company he used to finance the Leave.EU campaign.

Mr Banks has consistently denied any wrongdoing in connection to the referendum campaign.

Without mentioning allegations of Russian money or interference in the campaign, the commission said it had reason to believe a number of criminal offenses may have been committed.

Key Brexiteer and Leave campaigner Arron Banks is facing a criminal investigation over suspicions he committed a series of crimes during the 2016 referendum campaign. Now Aaron [sic] Banks is under investigation because Leave.EU stands accused of spending foreign money.

More news: Russia to test missiles in NATO exercise zone

The businessman has been referred to the agency by the Electoral Commission following an investigation into allegations that Banks had breached electoral law.

She denied claims the money had come from Russian sources, saying: "I run the group of companies where the money was from and we don't have any transactions that are from Russia". I am confident that a full and frank investigation will finally put an end to the ludicrous allegations levelled against me and my colleagues.

Helen Hayes, the Labour MP for Dulwich and West Norwood, commented: "Criminal investigation into the use of overseas funds by the Leave campaign".

He added: "There is no evidence of any wrongdoing from the companies that I own".

It was also looking at a reported £6m loaned to the organisation by Mr Banks alone. "As usual the Electoral Commission is batting for the Remainers in parliament".

"I am a United Kingdom taxpayer and I have never received any foreign donations", he said.

The elections watchdog has already spent months investigating Mr Banks and has decided there were reasonable grounds to suspect money given to Better for the Country came from impermissible sources, that Mr Banks concealed the true details of these transactions and a number of criminal...


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