Leave.EU fined £70k for breaching law during 2016 referendum

Nigel Farage   Getty

A BREXIT marketing campaign group has been fined £70,000 for breaking European Union referendum spending guidelines and its boss has been reported to the police over alleged criminality.

Leave.EU failed to include at least £77,380 in its spending return, thereby exceeding the spending limit for non-party registered campaigners by at least 10%.

The commission found the overspend by Leave-EU "may well have been considerably higher", adding that the group had presented "incomplete and inaccurate" information about spending.

The commission said it suspected criminal offences may have been committed, and the responsible person, Leave.EU CEO Liz Bilney, had been referred to the police.

"The Electoral Commission is a "Blairite swamp creation" packed full of establishment "Remoaners", Mr Banks said.

The British Electoral Commission announced the findings of its investigation on Friday, with Leave.EU found to have incorrectly reported what it spent at the EU referendum.

"The Electoral Commission went big game fishing and found a few "aged" dead sardines on the beach". So much for the big conspiracy!

"The level of fine we have imposed has been constrained by the cap on the Commission's fines".

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Leave.EU aimed to become as the official pro-Brexit campaign in the 2016 referendum, but lost out to Vote Leave, which was supported by many Conservative and some Labour MPs.

Tory MP Damian Collins, chairman of the Digital, Tradition, Media and Sport Choose Committee, mentioned Mr Banks and Andy Wigmore, Depart.EU's communications director, would face questions from the committee on its spending subsequent month.

The Commission explains in a statement that Leave.EU did not adequately report a bank loan worth 6 million pounds (6.8 million euros) or services received from U.S. Communication Office Goddard Gunster.

Services the group received from the United States campaign strategy firm Goddard Gunster were not included in the spending return, despite a proportion of them having been used during Leave.EU's referendum campaign.

The Electoral Commission said it had found no evidence that Leave.EU received donations or paid services from Cambridge Analytica, the data firm at the center of the Facebook privacy scandal.

The controversial agency's position within the referendum has been the topic of a lot scrutiny in current weeks. Banks has threatened, as it has done on previous occasions, without having to materialize it, to bring Electoral commission before courts.

Electoral Fee chief govt Claire Bassett denied the claims of bias, telling the identical programme: "The choices had been made by administrators of the Electoral Fee, they had been made primarily based on sturdy proof we had gathered and certainly you'll be able to see that within the 30-page report that we revealed".

The investigation into Leave.EU began in April 2017.

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