'Discrepancy' in account of Leave campaign funding, says senior MP

Daniel Fowler
November 7, 2018

Arron Banks is being investigated by the National Crime Agency (NCA) after the UK's elections watchdog found reasonable grounds to suspect he was not the true source of £8m loaned to an organisation that ran the Leave.EU group. And the man who funded posters claiming the United Kingdom was at "breaking point" over immigration even claimed that the channel's news programme was a "leading proponent" of angst in the country.

Mr Banks revealed he will be publishing bank statements on Monday that show no money came in from overseas foreign sources.

"The money came from Rock Services which was a United Kingdom limited company".

Bob Posner, the Commission's director of political finance, said: "We have reasonable grounds to suspect money given to Better for the Country came from impermissible sources and that Mr Banks and Ms Bilney, the responsible person for Leave.EU, knowingly concealed the true circumstances under which this money was provided".

Reuters reported that Banks stated he had received no foreign money, no Russian money and that he was a United Kingdom taxpayer.

Mr Banks also attacked Damian Collins, chairman of the DCMS Committee.

He told Sky News: The £8m came from a United Kingdom company, the cash was generated in the UK.

He previously told MPs in June that Rock Services is a treasury function and just delivers the cash. It doesn't make any money itself.

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"For Rock Services to have money to give to Leave.EU or anyone else, that money has got to have been put in that bank account by another company or another individual".

He said Rock Services had "all sorts of revenues", but did not detail them.

The Labour MP Ben Bradshaw wrote to Theresa May on Friday to ask whether the government had blocked requests to conduct an investigation into Banks, amid repeated allegations that an inquiry was prevented during her time as home secretary.

Well, details of that were revealed by Facebook earlier this year when they released a string of pro-Brexit adverts that popped up on voters' feeds before the European Union referendum in June 2016.

Questions over the validity of the referendum result could be raised only if misconduct was "proven to be true as a outcome of the investigation", he said. "I want to be absolutely clear about that", he told the BBC's Andrew Marr show. "But this isn't a question of what should be done about the referendum". There's an argument he uses which is to say this is all politically motivated, this is not a proper investigation, it's about trying to delay Brexit.

Pressed on how Rock Services could generate the £8m when it is listed as a non-trading company, Banks said the cash came from the insurance business of Rock Services and that all Leave funds were generated by UK-listed companies.

Both Bilney and Banks deny any wrongdoing, with the latter posting a flurry of tweets on Friday evening.

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