ibusinesslines.com December 14, 2018

Arron Banks referred to National Crime Agency

03 November 2018, 10:32 | Erica Roy

Arron Banks referred to National Crime Agency

Arron Banks referred to National Crime Agency

After the National Crime Agency announced its investigation into Arron Banks and his Leave.EU campaign, Liz Bilney, the CEO of Leave.EU, spoke to Iain Dale.

The Commission said it suspected criminal offences had been committed and that Banks was not the true source of 8 million pounds ($10-million) in loans to the Brexit campaign groups.

The NCA, which is tasked with investigating serious and organised crimes, said it acted following a referral of material from the UK's Electoral Commission.

Leave.EU head of communications Andy Wigmore added that the referral was "completely to be expected", and that the campaign was pleased a formal investigation would "finally bring a head to all these insane allegations made about us".

The National Crime Agency, which is able to investigate across global borders, said electoral law offences would "not routinely fall" within its remit.

"The sums of money involved in these matters are significant", the electoral commission added, after the pro-Brexit side won the referendum by a narrow margin of 51.9 percent against 48.1 percent in June 2016.

At least one of those meetings allegedly saw the embassy officials present Banks with a lucrative investment opportunity in a Russian gold company, according to media reports.

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

"If it is true that Theresa May prevented the security services investigating Arron Banks then, given the questions that have been asked about his financial conduct, she has serious questions to answer".

Banks said in a statement that he welcomes the investigation and is confident it will debunk the "ludicrous allegations" against him.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has previously said Banks' connections to Russian Federation were being examined "very seriously" by the government, amid allegations there had been an attempt to undermine United Kingdom democracy.

Arron Banks, a 52-year old insurance tycoon, had openly contributed £8m (€9m) to pro-Brexit groups, of which £2.9m was used directly in the campaign, the commission said.

The commission also referred Leave.EU, its chief executive, Elizabeth Bilney, and the organisation that ran it, Better for the Country, to the NCA after carrying out a review.

And she said the Electoral Commission had "failed to understand the nature of the loan agreements" and were seeing them through "their own biased lens".

Brexit campaign funder Arron Banks referred to the National Crime Agency for suspected offences in the run-up to the 2016 European Union referendum. "Our investigation has unveiled evidence that suggests criminal offences have been committed which fall beyond the remit of the Commission", he said.

"I run the group companies where the money was from and we don't have any transactions that are from Russian Federation", she told British broadcaster the BBC on Thursday.

'The financial transactions we have investigated include companies incorporated in Gibraltar and the Isle of Man.

"Rock Holdings is a company I own and control and I'm a United Kingdom taxpayer, no Russian or foreign money has ever come into it", Banks told Reuters.

'This is now a live investigation, and we are unable to discuss any operational detail'.

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