National Crime Agency begins criminal investigation into Arron Banks

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Arron Banks, the main funder of the pro-Brexit Leave.EU campaign, raised the possibility of seeking donations in the US in an email copied to Steve Bannon, who would later be central to Donald Trump’s successful presidential campaign, evidence released by a parliamentary committee shows. The email from Mr Banks shines new light on the links between Leave.EU and figures around Mr Trump’s campaign.

It also suggests that in the run-up to the June 2016 referendum on the UK’s EU membership Mr Banks was contemplating raising funds from outside the UK, an idea that if followed through would have contravened UK electoral law. The release of the emails by the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee follows the announcement on November 1 that the National Crime Agency would investigate whether Mr Banks was, as he claimed, the “true source” of £8m in loans and donations provided to Leave.EU. The Electoral Commission, which referred the matter to the NCA, also raised questions about whether Leave.EU broke electoral law by raising funds from outside the UK. Mr Banks wrote the email in October 2015 following a meeting with Cambridge Analytica, the controversial data-targeting company of which Mr Bannon was then vice-president. In a summary of follow-up points, Mr Banks wrote that he wanted Cambridge Analytica to come up with a strategy for how the campaign could raise funds in the United States. The email suggested targeting companies that might be affected by the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the EU and US. Mr Trump has halted talks on the deal since taking office. It also suggested targeting people with British relatives. “We could target people with family ties to the UK and raise money and create [social media] activity,” Mr Banks wrote. Written evidence by Emma Briant, a senior lecturer at the University of Essex, notes that Andy Wigmore, Mr Banks’ spokesman, has insisted the idea of raising funds in the US was dropped in February 2016, four months before the EU referendum, because it would have been “highly illegal”. Ms Briant received three emails as part of her doctoral research into events around the Leave.EU campaign. When asked about the written evidence by the Financial Times, Mr Wigmore pointed out that the Information Commissioner’s Office earlier this month accepted the Leave.EU campaign’s account of the relationship with Cambridge Analytica. Leave.EU has consistently said that its relationship with Cambridge Analytica amounted to only a few exploratory meetings. The links between Mr Bannon and figures around Leave.EU and the UK Independence party have led to persistent speculation that figures associated with the British campaign could become embroiled in Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian influence on Mr Trump’s campaign. Mr Banks has consistently insisted that Leave.EU took no Russian money and that all the loans and donations attributed to him were generated within the UK. Mr Bannon was for several months the chief executive of Mr Trump’s campaign for the White House and later became Mr Trump’s chief strategist before resigning in August 2017. He is one of the most radical rightwing figures to have served in the administration. Mr Bannon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
 
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Subscribe to read | Financial Times


Arron Banks, the main funder of the pro-Brexit Leave.EU campaign, raised the possibility of seeking donations in the US in an email copied to Steve Bannon, who would later be central to Donald Trump’s successful presidential campaign, evidence released by a parliamentary committee shows. The email from Mr Banks shines new light on the links between Leave.EU and figures around Mr Trump’s campaign.

It also suggests that in the run-up to the June 2016 referendum on the UK’s EU membership Mr Banks was contemplating raising funds from outside the UK, an idea that if followed through would have contravened UK electoral law. The release of the emails by the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee follows the announcement on November 1 that the National Crime Agency would investigate whether Mr Banks was, as he claimed, the “true source” of £8m in loans and donations provided to Leave.EU. The Electoral Commission, which referred the matter to the NCA, also raised questions about whether Leave.EU broke electoral law by raising funds from outside the UK. Mr Banks wrote the email in October 2015 following a meeting with Cambridge Analytica, the controversial data-targeting company of which Mr Bannon was then vice-president. In a summary of follow-up points, Mr Banks wrote that he wanted Cambridge Analytica to come up with a strategy for how the campaign could raise funds in the United States. The email suggested targeting companies that might be affected by the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the EU and US. Mr Trump has halted talks on the deal since taking office. It also suggested targeting people with British relatives. “We could target people with family ties to the UK and raise money and create [social media] activity,” Mr Banks wrote. Written evidence by Emma Briant, a senior lecturer at the University of Essex, notes that Andy Wigmore, Mr Banks’ spokesman, has insisted the idea of raising funds in the US was dropped in February 2016, four months before the EU referendum, because it would have been “highly illegal”. Ms Briant received three emails as part of her doctoral research into events around the Leave.EU campaign. When asked about the written evidence by the Financial Times, Mr Wigmore pointed out that the Information Commissioner’s Office earlier this month accepted the Leave.EU campaign’s account of the relationship with Cambridge Analytica. Leave.EU has consistently said that its relationship with Cambridge Analytica amounted to only a few exploratory meetings. The links between Mr Bannon and figures around Leave.EU and the UK Independence party have led to persistent speculation that figures associated with the British campaign could become embroiled in Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian influence on Mr Trump’s campaign. Mr Banks has consistently insisted that Leave.EU took no Russian money and that all the loans and donations attributed to him were generated within the UK. Mr Bannon was for several months the chief executive of Mr Trump’s campaign for the White House and later became Mr Trump’s chief strategist before resigning in August 2017. He is one of the most radical rightwing figures to have served in the administration. Mr Bannon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

More emails to be released this week...

This stinks to high heaven

Fresh Links Found Between Brexit Donor, Cambridge Analytica and Trump's Strategist
 
Who the f**k cares? Vote was two years ago. If he's been naughty he'll be spanked once it is proven. Referendum will have still happened; result will still be in. We'll still be leaving.
 
Who the f**k cares? Vote was two years ago. If he's been naughty he'll be spanked once it is proven. Referendum will have still happened; result will still be in. We'll still be leaving.
Our democratic process allegedly being steered by foreign interests, illegally doesn't concern you?

The case should be investigated for wrong doing no matter how brexit pans out.
 

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