Damian Collins, Chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport commented on the decision to refer Arron Banks to the National Crime Agency:
“The DCMS select committee raised various concerns about the conduct of Arron Banks in our recent interim report on Disinformation and ‘fake news.’
"In particular the DCMS committee stated in paragraph 191 of our report that, 'Arron Banks is believed to have donated £8.4 million to the Leave campaign, the largest political donation in British politics, but it is unclear from where he obtained that amount of money. He failed to satisfy us that his own donations had, in fact, come from sources within the UK. At the same time, we have evidence of Mr. Banks’ discussions with Russian Embassy contacts, including the Russian Ambassador, over potential gold and diamond deals, and the passing of confidential information by Mr Banks. The Electoral Commission should pursue investigations into donations that Arron Banks made to the Leave campaign, to verify that the money was not sourced from abroad. Should there be any doubt, the matter should be referred to the NCA.'
“I am pleased that this referral to the NCA has now happened. We look forward to questioning the Electoral Commission at our hearing on Tuesday next week about their investigation. These are serious issues that should be fully investigated by the NCA using all their powers.”
Next week the Committee will question the Information Commissioner, the Electoral Commission and the Advertising Standards Authority in a further session as part of its inquiry into Disinformation and ‘fake news’, from 10.30am on Tuesday 6th November.
Read the Committee’s interim report on Disinformation and ‘fake news’.
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