Breaking News
Investing Pro 0
New Year’s SALE: Up to 40% OFF InvestingPro+ CLAIM OFFER

The 8 million pound hole in Brexit: smoking gun or damp squib?

Currencies Nov 05, 2018 11:21AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore, who ran the Leave.Eu pro-Brexit referendum campaign, arrive to give evidence to the Digital Culture Media and Sport Parliamentary Committee in London

By Guy Faulconbridge

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's serious crime agency has started an investigation into Brexit backer Arron Banks over the source of 8 million pounds ($10.4 million) in loans to groups including Leave.EU which campaigned to leave the European Union.

WHY DO WE CARE?

Banks has said the investigation is part of an attempt to undermine Brexit. He has repeatedly insisted that the money came from him and that no Russian funding was involved.

But if criminal offences or foreign funding are proven, that could cast doubt on the legitimacy of the whole Brexit vote.

The groups that received the loans ran emotive publicity campaigns to persuade people to vote to leave the EU - and the final result was close. In the June 23, 2016 referendum, 17.4 million voters, or 51.9 percent, backed Brexit while 16.1 million, or 48.1 percent, backed staying in the bloc.

WHAT IS THE INVESTIGATION ABOUT?

The focus is 8 million pounds in loans provided to Leave.EU and Better for the Country Limited (BFTC), which Banks controls and which ran Leave.EU's campaign.

Britain's Electoral Commission asked the UK National Crime Agency to investigate Banks after saying it suspected the insurance entrepreneur was "not the true source" of the loans.

It also said it had grounds to suspect that the loan arrangements had involved Banks' Rock Holding Limited, which was incorporated in the Isle of Man, a self-governing British crown dependency that is not part of the United Kingdom.

British law mostly bans companies from outside UK from making such political donations.

The Electoral Commission said it suspected criminal offences were committed, specifically relating to the transactions which led to the 8 million pounds being paid into BFTC's bank account.

WHAT DOES BANKS SAY?

Banks said the money was his and came from his UK-incorporated Rock Services insurance firm and was generated from insurance business written in the UK.

He has said that the Electoral Commission's issues about Rock Holdings are based on a misunderstanding about its status - that it is a holding company that owns Rock Services and did not itself provide the loans.

"Rock Holdings is a company I own and control and I’m a U.K. tax payer, no Russian or foreign money has ever come into it," he told Reuters.

Banks, who was pictured with Donald Trump and leading Brexiteer Nigel Farage outside a gilded elevator soon after Trump’s 2016 U.S. presidential election victory, said he welcomed the inquiry.

"I am confident that a full and frank investigation will finally put an end to the ludicrous allegations leveled against me and my colleagues," he said.

RUSSIAN LINKS?

After the announcement of the investigation, Damian Collins, chair of the British Parliament's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said it is unclear where Banks got the 8 million pounds.

Collins' committee said Banks had misled it over the number of meetings he had with the Russian embassy in London.

Banks said at the time that he had no business interests in Russia and had done no business deals in Russia. Russia has denied any involvement in Brexit.

WHAT NEXT?

It is unclear how long the National Crime Agency's investigation will take. The United Kingdom is due to leave the EU on March 29, at 11:00 p.m. London time.

($1 = 0.7688 pounds)

The 8 million pound hole in Brexit: smoking gun or damp squib?
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.
  • Any comment you publish, together with your investing.com profile, will be public on investing.com and may be indexed and available through third party search engines, such as Google.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email