Brexit campaign mostly funded by five of UK's richest businessmen, study finds

Jonathan Mitchell
Britain voted to leave the European Union last year: AFP/Getty Images

The campaign to leave the European Union was funded largely by five of the UK’s richest businessmen, including the co-owner of Crystal Palace, according to a study.

The quintet together gave almost £15m to Brexiteers, with a total of £24.1m in donations and loans given to leave campaign groups in the five months leading to the referendum.

A study of finances by The Sunday Times Rich List found that business leaders accounted for 71 per cent of finances for both sides of the Brexit battle.

Crystal Place co-owner Jeremy Hosking paid £1.69m to leave campaigners.

The figure is eclipsed by the campaign's biggest donor Arron Banks, who gave an enormous £8.1m to Brexit campaigners.

Last week it emerged the Leave.EU campaign, which he co-founded, faces an investigation by the Electoral Commission over potentially impermissible donations.

The other three donors are investment billionaire Peter Hargreves, motor entrepreneur Lord Edmiston and hedge fund manager Crispin Odey.

Lord Salisbury of Turville was the remain campaign’s biggest donor, giving 4.2m to pro-Eu groups, according to the study.