Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage could be facing an EU investigation over claims that he failed to declare nearly £500,000 in ‘lavish gifts’ from an insurance tycoon and Brexit super donor Arron Banks.
It was revealed that Banks has given Farage gifts to the value of £450,000, including a chauffeur-driven car, rent and bills on a £4.4m Chelsea home, and expensive trips to the United States to meet with right-wing politicians.
Farage has denied any wrongdoing, saying any gifts received had nothing to do with his political work. “It’s a purely private matter, non-political in absolutely every way,” he told Channel 4 news.
But none of the gifts, detailed in invoices seen by Channel 4 News, were declared on Mr Farage’s register of interests with the European parliament, which is designed to prevent MEPs from keeping their conflicts of interests secret.
Arron Banks also financed the Leave.eu campaign during the referendum, for which he was fined twice by the Electoral Commission for exceeding the ceiling of electoral expenses and for violating the data protection laws during the campaign.
The businessman, allegedly linked to the Kremlin, who became the biggest donor in the history of British politics by donating 1 million pounds to the United Kingdom Independence Party when Nigel Farage was its leader, and 9 million pounds in the Leave.eu campaign in the Brexit referendum, is currently being investigated by the UK’s National Anti-Crime Agency.
“Arron Banks is believed to have donated £8.4 million to the Leave campaign, the largest political donation in British politics, but it is unclear from where he obtained that amount of money,” read a November 2018 report from the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee of the UK’s House of Commons.
“He failed to satisfy us that his own donations had, in fact, come from sources within the UK. At the same time, we have evidence of Mr Banks’ discussions with Russian Embassy contacts, including the Russian Ambassador, over potential gold and diamond deals, and the passing of confidential information by Mr Banks.”
Banks has denied any wrongdoing.
The latest polls show the Brexit party on course to secure twice as many votes as any other party, according to the YouGov-ECFR survey, which gives Nigel Farage’s party 33.4% of votes.
The survey found 17.3% of voters intended to cast their ballots for the Liberal Democrats, 16.1% for Labour and 9.2% for the Green party. The Conservatives are in fifth, on 8.3%.