Call for true source of funding for' Leave' campaign to be established

By agency reporter
November 5, 2018

Transparency International has welcomed the launch of a criminal investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) into the source of £8million worth of funding for Better for the Country Limited and the Leave.EU organisation during the 2016 EU membership referendum.

Following the referendum, Transparency International published a report highlighting that Better for the Country Limited was able to contribute to five separate leave campaigns, without revealing the source of its funds. The organisation says that it now hopes that through the course of this investigation it can be established whether or not these funds came from non-permissible donors, potentially in breach of the law.

This announcement from the NCA comes after an investigation by the Electoral Commission who have said they have reasonable grounds to suspect that £8 million given to campaigners at the referendum did not come from lawful sources.

Duncan Hames, Director of Policy at Transparency International UK, said: "The fact that the National Crime Agency are taking on this investigation makes clear just how serious these allegations are. We have previously called for a full and thorough investigation into the source of these funds and for action to be taken where a breach of law is found. Any criminal activity must be prosecuted and individuals held to account."

"The EU referendum was an historic vote with major implications for the future of our country. The public are entitled to know exactly who was funding either side of this campaign, so as to have confidence that no foreign interests were interfering in the British democratic process."

"This case shows the urgent need to address how politics is funded. Under the current rules it is too easy for dark money to be injected into the system and for big donors to exert undue influence over our political system. At a time when there is an ongoing investigation into foreign interference in the US Presidential elections, it's more vital than ever that the UK addresses its own vulnerabilities to capture and manipulation by powerful interests at home and abroad."

*Download the report Take Back Control: How big money undermines trust in politics here

* Transparency International UK https://www.transparency.org.uk/

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