Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

Arron Banks insists Brexit campaign cash was legitimate

NewsPoliticsTheresa May under pressure over blocking security services probe into Arron Banks Brexit campaign millions Ben Gelblum NewsPoliticsTheresa May under pressure over blocking security services probe into Arron Banks Brexit campaign millions Ben Gelblum
Russell Knight | 07 November, 2018, 15:31

'There was no Russian money and no interference of any type, ' he said.

Businessman Arron Banks has been challenged to explain where the money for his Brexit campaign came from.

"The Electoral Commission has laid out concerns about this in public and it is legitimate and editorially justified for Andrew Marr to question Mr Banks robustly about them, which he will do on Sunday morning".

BBC correspondent John Simpson defended the decision, writing: "The urge to keep people we disapprove of from appearing on our TV screens is very much the same as the desire some university students have to no-platform speakers whose views they disagree with".

A millionaire credited with bankrolling Brexit said he would now vote for the United Kingdom to remain in the European Union because of the "disgraceful behaviour of the Government".

Mr Banks said that the £8 million he gave or loaned to pro-Brexit groups during the 2016 referendum campaign was generated entirely "out of insurance business written in the UK".

Challenged by Marr to explain where the money for his Brexit campaign came from, the millionaire businessman and self-style "bad boy of Brexit" again denied it came from overseas, saying instead it originated from his own United Kingdom businesses.

The elections watchdog said it had "reasonable grounds" to suspect that Banks was not the true source of £8m in loans received by Better for the Country, the parent organisation that ran Banks' controversial Leave.EU campaign.

Banks raised eyebrows further when he suggested that if given the time again, he would vote to remain in the EU.

The Electoral Commission has said it suspects the cash instead came via another company called Rock Holdings, which is incorporated in the Isle of Man.

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

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

On Thursday it was reported that the National Crime Agency has launched a criminal investigation into Banks and a number of other individuals associated with the Leave.EU campaign.

He went on: 'I know it's complex for journalists to understand but we know what this is about - it's about undermining Article 50 and the Brexit result.

Mr Banks lashed out again at the Electoral Commission, accusing it of being full of his political opponents, as well as elements of the media who opposed Brexit.

"It's a group of vicious MPs who have grouped together with the Guardian and the FT".

Mr Banks replied: "Well he is".

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

On Tuesday, the Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, will announce the outcome of an inquiry into claims Eldon shared customer data obtained for insurance purposes with Leave.EU, potentially breaking data protection laws.

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