Electoral Commission launches probe into finances of Leave.EU during referendum

Mark Chandler
Nigel Farage: The former Ukip leader supported Leave.EU: Geoff Caddick/AFP/Getty

The Electoral Commission has launched an investigation into potentially unlawful spending during the European referendum by Leave.EU.

The elections watchdog announced the probe following "an assessment which concluded that there were reasonable grounds to suspect that potential offences under the law may have occurred".

Leave.EU was bankrolled by Ukip donor Arron Banks and heavily supported by the party’s former leader Nigel Farage.

In a statement, the watchdog said the inquiry would focus on whether the campaign group had received "impermissible" donations and whether its spending return was incomplete.

"The Electoral Commission has begun an investigation into Leave.EU's EU Referendum spending return," the statement said.

"This followed an assessment which concluded that there were reasonable grounds to suspect that potential offences under the law may have occurred.

"The investigation is focused on whether one or more donations - including of services - accepted by Leave.EU was impermissible; and whether Leave.EU's spending return was complete.

"Once the investigation is complete, the commission will decide whether any breaches have occurred and, if so, what further action may be appropriate, in line with its enforcement policy."

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