UK National Crime Agency Starts Investigation Into Eurosceptic Businessman Aaron Banks

The UK National Crime Agency (NCA) said on Thursday (Nov 1st) that it has opened an investigation into British businessman Arron Banks, who financed one of the main campaigns for Britain to leave the EU, Reuters has reported. 

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 investigation. 

“It is an opportunity for us to clear up the matter,” Banks told Reuters. “The Electoral Commission have said offences may have been committed but have provided no evidence.” 

Banks said he had written to Prime Minister Theresa May to ask for an investigation. 

The National Crime Agency, which investigates serious and organised crime, said the investigation comes after an referral from the Electoral Commission but will extend to offences other than breaking electoral law. 

Banks, who ahead of the 2016 Brexit referendum financed Leave.EU, a campaign led by Farage, then the leader of the UK Independence Party, has faced questions in parliament about the source of his wealth. 

“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,” Banks said. His name has been widely discussed amongst the Brussels press corps in relation to Russian funding of far-right and eurosceptic parties in the EU.

In the June 23, 2016 referendum, 17.4 million votes, or 51.9% of votes cast, backed leaving the EU while 16.1 million votes, or 48.1% of votes cast, backed staying, a result that defied opinion polls. 

The Electoral Commission, said it had reasonable grounds to suspect that Banks was not the true source of 8 million pounds of loans made to a company called Better for the Country Limited (BFTCL) - of which Banks was a director. 

BFTCL was not registered as a permitted participant in the referendum and a number of criminal offences may have been committed, the Commission said.

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Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright is publishing editor and Brussels correspondent of EU Today.

An experienced journalist and author, he specialises in environment, energy, and defence.

He also has more than 10 years experience of working as a staff member in the EU institutions, working with political groups and MEPs in various policy areas.

In October 2021 POLITICO described Gary as "the busiest man in Brussels!"

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