Leave.EU Fined £70,000 For Overspending
Leave.EU, the unofficial leave campaign set up by UKIP bankroller Arron Banks, has been fined £70,000 for overspending.
The campaign, which lost out on being designated as the ‘official’ pro-Brexit campaign, nevertheless caused a storm with its radical rhetoric. Since the referendum, it has become a platform for the extreme right, promoting alt-lite figures and anti-muslim rhetoric. It is closely associated with the right wing website ‘Westmonster’.
The Electoral Commission has claimed that Leave.EU overspent the limits by 10%, though they admit the true figure could be far greater. They failed to report ‘at least’ £77,380. The campaign’s chief executive Liz Bilney has also been reported to the police for “serious offences”.
The unreported spending mostly centred around consultancy services, and loans from thee businesses supported by Banks.
“This included a lack of transparency and incorrect reporting around who provided the loans, the dates the loans were entered into, the repayment date and the interest rate.
“Finally, Leave.EU failed to provide the required invoice or receipt for 97 payments of over £200, totalling £80,224.”
Banks, along with his close associate Bilney, was implicated in the Panama Papers scandal of 2016, when it was revealed that companies he owned were registered in the British Virgin Islands for tax avoidance purposes, along with shares in a company run by Bilney. The millionaire agitator claimed that the Electoral Commissions findings were entirely politically motivated and would be challenged in court.