Backers of Brexit funding campaign investigated for "suspected criminal offences"

Arron Banks tweet Nov 2018

Responding to the decision to refer Banks to police, Liberal Democrat lawmaker, Tom Brake, who speaks for his party on Brexit said "people have known for a long time that the Brexiter ranks were filled with dodgy demagogues, today's news will be little surprise".

A major Brexit donor has denied claims that funding came from Russian Federation - and admitted the United Kingdom may have been better staying in the EU.

Mr Banks has faced claims that money to fund Leave.EU came from Russian sources - something he has repeatedly denied. It's not selling products and services and generating cash.

Mr Banks said the source of the loans was Rock Services.

Mr Banks revealed he will be publishing bank statements on Monday that show "no money came in from overseas foreign sources".

"If Rock Services made the donation, where did the money come from for Rock Services to do that?"

Pressed on how Rock Services could generate the £8m when it is listed as a non-trading company, Banks said the cash came from the insurance business of Rock Services and that all Leave funds were generated by UK-listed companies. "No matter how many times he was asked that question, he didn't answer it". He told the Times he had obtained a legal opinion to show that lending money via Rock Holdings was legitimate, and that he would refer to than opinion on air.

Mr Banks denied any business links with Russian Federation as he stated he is "not going to apologise for having lunch with a diplomat, I've had lunch with many diplomats".

Questions over the validity of the referendum result could be raised only if misconduct was "proven to be true as a outcome of the investigation", he said. "He said he was 'confident that a full and frank investigation will finally put an end to the ludicrous allegations levelled against me and my colleagues". Ultimately that is a matter for Parliament.

Richard Tice of Leave Means Leave told BBC Newsnight that "Remoaners" were using the investigation as an excuse to try and overturn Brexit. He also highlighted the little-discussed role of multinational investment banking corporations in the funding of the official Remain campaign, and pointed to the anti-Brexit bias of the Electoral Commission itself, among other things.

The Electoral Commission's review of referendum finances focused on £2m reported to have been loaned to Better For The Country by Mr Banks and his insurance companies and a £6m donation which he made alone.

Both Bilney and Banks deny any wrongdoing, with the latter posting a flurry of tweets on Friday evening.

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