Economy

Brexit funder Arron Banks comes out as a Remainer

Brexit funder Arron Banks comes out as a Remainer

British millionaire and political donor Arron Banks has insisted there was "no Russian money" in the donations received by his controversial campaigns to leave the EU.

Another £6 million was reportedly loaned by Banks on behalf of Leave.EU, with £2.9 million used on referendum campaign spending and donations to other groups.

The Electoral Commission has said it suspects the cash instead came via another company called Rock Holdings, which is incorporated in the Isle of Man.

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

Mr Banks went on the attack the reporter personally saying: "You really want to get Michael Crick out, he's the expert at doorstepping, I'm not going to talk to second best".

Bob Posner, the commission's director of political finance, said the elections watchdog suspected the money came from "impermissible sources".

Banks also stated he was confident the NCA would clear him and his campaign, branding the Electoral Commission a "shambles" and dismissing the whole exercise an attempt by the Remain campaign to "tarnish" the Leave campaign and derail Brexit.

He accused "vicious MPs" and journalists of trying to undermine the Brexit process.

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Collins rejected suggestions that the UK's departure from the European Union should be put on hold while the investigation into Banks and Leave.EU was carried out.

"The corruption I've seen in British politics - the sewer that exists and the disgraceful behaviour of the Government over what they are doing with Brexit and how they are selling it out - means that if I had my time again I think it would have been better to have probably remained and not unleash these demons", he said.

Conservative MP and chairman of the culture media and sport committee, Damian Collins, told The Observer the leaked e-mails appeared to "flatly contradict" what Mr Banks had told his committee in June.

When pressed further, he said: "Goodbye, I'm not talking to you".

"The Electoral Commission has made a public statement without producing any evidence", he said.

Mr Banks was asked by Andrew Marr why he wrote to Mr Collins' constituents calling him a "snake in the grass".

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".

On Tuesday, the Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, will announce the outcome of an inquiry into claims Eldon shared customer data obtained for insurance purposes with Leave.EU, potentially breaking data protection laws.