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United Kingdom major crimes unit opens probe into 'chief' Brexiteer

02 November 2018

Arron Banks was co-chairman and main funder of Leave.EU, the "provisional wing" of Brexiteers, but in 2015 what he really wanted was to be the head of the official Leave campaign.

The UK's National Crime Agency has confirmed it is investigating Arron Banks, the backer of the biggest campaign to leave the European Union, as well as his associate Liz Bilney and others for electoral law offenses.

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.

The Electoral Commission's review of referendum finances focused on £2m reported to have been loaned to Better for the Country by Mr Banks and his insurance companies and a £6m donation he made alone.

He referred to his committee's recent report which found that "Arron Banks is believed to have donated £8.4 million to the Leave campaign, the largest political donation in British politics, but it is unclear from where he obtained that amount of money".

The National Crime Agency probe was launched after the elections watchdog said it had reasonable grounds to suspect that Mr Banks was not the true source of the cash.

When Iain asked if Ms Bilney thought there were "political motives at play", mentioning that Nigel Farage had accused the electoral commission of being dominated by remainers, Liz said that she "was never one to be a conspiracy theorist but when you live through it, you really start to question it".

A number of criminal offences may have been committed.

"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".

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

"This is why we have handed our evidence to the NCA to allow them to investigate and take any appropriate law enforcement action. These jurisdictions are beyond the reach of the Electoral Commission for the objective of obtaining information for use in criminal investigations or proceedings", 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", Banks said in a statement issued by Leave.EU.

"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.

He promised he had not received any foreign money and that he is a United Kingdom taxpayer.

The revelations by The Mail could not come at a more awkward time for Mrs May after it transpired the National Crime Agency (NCA) is investigating Mr Banks. "The Electoral Commission has produced no evidence to the contrary", added Mr Banks.

'Our investigation relates to suspected electoral law offences covered by that referral, as well as any associated offences.

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).

United Kingdom major crimes unit opens probe into 'chief' Brexiteer