Arron Banks has allegedly become embroiled in a row with TV presenter Noel Edmonds over claims that he is owed £1.3 million, and has reportedly deployed satellites and private investigators to locate the TV personality.
Mr Edmonds – who is best known as the presenter of the Channel 4 game show Deal or No Deal – is accused by Mr Banks of moving to New Zealand to avoid paying.
Mr Banks, who bankrolled Nigel Farage’s Brexit campaign and co-founded Leave.EU campaign in 2015, is reportedly “fuming”, claiming that the presenter owes him the money as a result of his high-profile battle to recover millions of pounds from Lloyds Banking Group lost as part of an unrelated fraud.
The Mail on Sunday reported that Mr Banks has used private investigators and satellite technology to track down Mr Edmonds to a "hideout" in New Zealand, where he plans to serve legal papers to recover a total of £1,344,000.
Mr Edmonds covered his legal costs by taking out an insurance policy from the Legal Protection Group – wholly owned by Mr Banks. A fee for the policy was allegedly due when he reached a settlement with the bank.
The newspaper quoted Mr Banks as saying: “I'm fuming. Mr Edmonds has run off to a lush part of New Zealand with my money...
“We backed him when no one else would in his fight with the banks, he won and then he headed for New Zealand without even acknowledging his debt to me and my company. No deal is not an option – cough up, or I will drag you back to the UK to face the music.”
However, it also quoted a source close to Mr Edmonds who denied he had fled the country or was in hiding, and disputed him being liable for the sum.
Investigators working for Mr Banks are reported to have tracked down Mr Edmonds by comparing images in the backdrop of a local TV interview given by him, with those from a satellite.
Their dossier on "Noel Ernest Edmonds", which the newspaper claims to have seen, describes obtaining the breakthrough in their search “by focusing on the positioning of the swimming pool in relation to the main dwelling house, the spacing of the box hedging visible in the background of the pool shot, and the roofline and relationship between the dwelling house and outbuildings”.
Land covenants taken out at the time of Mr Edmonds' move to New Zealand also pointed to it being his property, the dossier is reported to say.
Mr Edmonds was reported to have come to a financial agreement worth a reported £5 million with Lloyds after corrupt financiers from the bank's Reading branch were imprisoned in 2017 for a loans scam equating to £245 million.
The scam destroyed a number of businesses – including Mr Edmonds' Unique Group – while criminals spent the proceeds on prostitutes and luxury holidays.
Mr Edmonds received an apology from the group for the distress he suffered. However, it has been reported that a final legal settlement had not been reached with the bank.
The 71-year-old lives on the outskirts of Auckland with his wife Liz and her 16-year-old son.
Mr Edmonds has set up a "positivity" radio network which includes a station playing music designed for houseplants.
A representative for Mr Edmonds has been contacted for comment.
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