16:40 GMT +322 October 2019
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    This July 10, 2016 file photo shows millionaire Brexit campaigner Arron Banks in London.

    UK Police Drop Criminal Investigation Into Leave.EU Over Referendum Spending

    © AP Photo / Jonathan Brady
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    Last year the Electoral Commission passed a dossier to the Metropolitan Police about allegations against Leave.EU during the 2016 referendum. A group of Labour, Green and Liberal Democrat MPs recently accused the police of “foot-dragging”.

    Scotland Yard have dropped a criminal investigation into alleged breaches of election law said to have been carried out by Leave.EU - which was co-founded by business tycoon Arron Banks - during the 2016 Brexit referendum.

    On Friday, 13 September, the Metropolitan Police said: “On 5 August 2019 the MPS submitted a file to the CPS for Early Investigative Advice in relation to the Leave.EU investigation and this advice has now been received. It is clear that whilst some technical breaches of electoral law were committed by Leave.EU in respect of the spending return submitted for their campaign, there is insufficient evidence to justify any further criminal investigation.”

    An investigation into the spending returns of two other Brexit groups - Vote Leave and BeLeave - will continue, said the police.

    Commander Alex Murray, of Central Specialist Crime, said: “It was right to investigate the allegation, however following detailed enquiries it became apparent that the nature of potential breaches of the regulations, the criminal standard of proof required in court and the actions taken by Leave.EU to adhere to the regulations, mean that it is now appropriate to take no further action.”

    Leave.EU was co-founded by Banks and property tycoon Richard Tice, who is now an MEP for the Brexit Party.

    The Electoral Commission investigated £2.9m spent by Leave.EU which it claimed to have received from Banks.

    Carol Cadwalladr, a journalist with The Observer, made allegations that some of the money came from Russia.

    Banks has repeatedly said there was "no Russian money, no interference" in Leave.EU.

    Earlier this year Leave.EU and one of Banks' insurance companies were fined £120,000 over breaches of data law.

    On its website Leave.EU's CEO Liz Bilney said: "Leave.EU played a decisive role in the British public’s historic vote to leave the EU on June 23rd  2016. The campaign is remaining active throughout the UK’s exit negotiations to make sure that those in power get the best deal possible for the UK."

    Arron Banks, referendum, Brexit, Leave.EU
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