Guardian Journalist Told Arron Banks is No More than a “Footnote” in Russia Report

Guido couldn’t help detect a distinct air of crushing disappointment from the Guardian journalist who intrepidly asked the ISC press conference panel whether the Russia report looked into any connections between Arron Banks and Russia, only to be curtly told he is no more than a “footnote” in the report. You’ve got to admire the conspiracists’ persistence…

Turning to the footnote in question (number 50 on page 13 for those of you following along at home), the Intelligence and Security Committee notes:

Arron Banks became the biggest donor in British political history when he gave £8m to the Leave.EU campaign. In October 2018, the Electoral Commission – which had been investigating the source of this donation – referred the case to the National Crime Agency, which investigated it ***. In September 2019, the National Crime Agency announced that it had concluded the investigation, having found no evidence that any criminal offences had been committed under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 or company law by any of the individuals or organisations referred to it by the Electoral Commission.

Carole, naturally, remains unconvinced

mdi-timer 21 July 2020 @ 11:57 21 Jul 2020 @ 11:57 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Banks Spanks Electoral Commission

Arron Banks and Liz Bilney, the CEO of Leave.EU, follow in the footsteps of Darren Grimes by winning in the High Court against the Electoral Commission. Today the Electoral Commission agreed terms of settlement over the Electoral Commission’s announcement in November 2018 of its referral of Banks and Bilney to the National Crime Agency for further investigation.

The NCA stated publicly on 24 September 2019 that having investigated the matters referred by the Electoral Commission, it found that there was no evidence of any criminal offences having been committed by Banks or Bilney. The NCA further notified the Electoral Commission that its investigation showed that the monies Mr Banks used to fund the loans came from the group of companies of which Mr Banks was the ultimate beneficial owner. Today the Electoral Commission finally admitted it was wrong on all counts:

The Electoral Commission considers it was right to refer this matter to the NCA for further investigation, but confirms that it accepts (a) the NCA’s conclusions that it found no evidence that any criminal offences have been committed under PPERA or company law by Mr Banks or Ms Bilney; and (b) the NCA had not received any evidence to suggest that Mr Banks or his companies received funding from any third party.

All that nonsense about Russians? Nyet.

The official Electoral Commission statement says

The National Crime Agency, after its own investigation, has (i) concluded that there is no evidence that any criminal offences have been committed under PPERA or company law by any of the individuals or organisations referred to it by the Electoral Commission; and (ii) has stated that it has not received any evidence to suggest that Mr Banks and his companies received funding from any third party to fund the loans subject to the investigation, or that Mr Banks acted as an agent on behalf of a third party. The Electoral Commission accepts these conclusions.

The Commission’s case was absolute nonsense. Parliament has oversight of the Electoral Commission, there must be a reckoning. It is not fit for purpose…

mdi-timer 29 April 2020 @ 16:32 29 Apr 2020 @ 16:32 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Those Banks Twitter Direct Message Leaks

For the record, and sorry to disappoint Carole and the rest of the conspiracy theorists, the leak of the direct messages which reveals Guido’s editor arranging to pay £10,000 in cash to Arron Banks (N.B. Carole pay to, not get paid by) was hardly secret. It was paid after losing a bet, made in front of half of SW1’s finest at a Spectator party, that Trump would not become president in 2016. It was a painful night, as he lost the same bet with Nigel Farage.

Banks had arranged to have lunch to collect his winnings and he forgot. Which was irritating. The leaked DMs go as follows:

PS “Where we having lunch?”

AB “Hi there , I’m free most of Feb after the Washington trip .. Hertford Street!”

PS “You forgot to put today in the diary didn’t you? Have a wedge of £50s here…”

AB “What’s today!”

PS “The day you said we would have lunch.”

AB “Sorry then I’ve fucked up.”

PS “If you don’t want the £10k that’s fine with me….”

AB “I’ll check diary and let’s agree a day in Feb . I’m in the office tomorrow . Next week by the way is going to be Huge! Some interesting stuff going on in Washington”

When Banks later claimed publicly that the bet was unpaid it led to a testy exchange…

PS “As you well know I have had your £10,000 sitting in the bloody safe for months. Really resent your implication.”

AB “Believe it or I’m busy . Andy has tried repeatedly to get in touch – he will come and collect the cash .”

PS “He has my number and not called. Send him round. You should point out on Twitter that you fucked up, not me.”

Andy Wigmore eventually picked up the winnings in April 2017 and rubbed it in a little. As the characteristically accurate tweet above, hidden in plain sight, demonstrated. No roubles were involved, Carole…

The situation for other publications currently going through hacked DMs – of which their journalists were neither the sender or the recipient – is more complicated. There is no public interest defence for the hacking. There is no evidence of crimes – apart from the act of hacking. There is a lot of stuff that is embarrassing for politicians and journalists. Am looking at you, Ms Hyde…

mdi-timer 19 November 2019 @ 15:17 19 Nov 2019 @ 15:17 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Leave.EU Come out in Support of Boris’s Deal

Aaron Banks’s Brexit campaign, Leave.EU, has declared its support for Boris’s new Brexit deal. The endorsement comes as Farage maintains he would rather have an extension than leaving on October 31 with the deal. Paying billions more to the EU in pursuit of a pure Brexit that is out of reach…

Leave.EU – who are among the most hardline Brexit campaign groups, and a week ago called Angela Merkal a ‘kraut’ – are the latest surprise backers of the PM’s deal, falling in line just after Stuart Rose, the Chairman of Britain Stronger in Europe. The endorsement might prove crucial to the final hardline Tory Spartans yet to decide whether to back the deal…

mdi-timer 18 October 2019 @ 11:30 18 Oct 2019 @ 11:30 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
NCA Concludes Banks Didn’t Break Law

The National Crime Agency has concluded that Arron Banks and Leave.EU did not commit a criminal offence after the Electoral Commission referred allegations to them.

The NCA has full access to bank transactions and found nothing illegal or untoward. Carole Cadwallader’s absurd conspiracy theories have once again been found to have zero credibility – she should make a settlement offer this afternoon…

The conclusion reads as follows:

The NCA investigation has concluded that:

  • Mr Banks took a loan from Rock Holdings Ltd, a company of which he is the ultimate beneficial owner. He was legally entitled to do so.
  • Mr Banks was legally entitled, in his capacity as an individual, to release these funds to Better for the Country Ltd, by instructing another of his companies, Rock Services Ltd, to make the transactions on his behalf.
  • Rock Holdings Ltd was not involved in these transactions in a manner which contravened PPERA.

The NCA has found no evidence that any criminal offences have been committed under PPERA or company law by any of the individuals or organisations referred to it by the Electoral Commission. It will therefore take no further action against Mr Banks, Ms Bilney, Better for the Country Ltd or Leave.EU in respect of this specific matter.

Despite successive recent defeats, the Electoral Commission have refused to back down, saying, “We urge the UK’s governments to act on those recommendations to support voter confidence”, today’s Electoral Commission defeat is another example of how it simply isn’t fit for purpose…

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mdi-timer 24 September 2019 @ 09:01 24 Sep 2019 @ 09:01 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Carole Threatens to Counter-Sue “Bully” Banks For Harassment

After Arron Banks filed formal libel proceedings against Carole Cadwalladr over her Russian money claims last Friday, Carole has responded… by counter-suing Banks for harassment. Carole is complaining that Banks has chosen to sue her personally rather than the Observer, the Guardian or TED. Of course, Carole was quite happy to personally receive all the accolades for her stories to the extent that she even threatened legal action against her fellow journalists. Funny how she’s not so keen on taking personal responsibility now…

Carole says she will use the defence that her statements were true, meanwhile her lawyers have threatened Banks that she will counter-sue for harassment if he continues with the libel proceedings. A pretty odd response if they’re so convinced they’re going to win…

Carole seems to think she should have the right to publish stories attacking other people without them even being allowed to try to defend their own reputations in response – the whole point of libel proceedings is that it stops petty squabbles like this and allows the courts to arbitrate. If she’s got the evidence she claims then she’s got nothing to worry about…

mdi-timer 16 July 2019 @ 11:08 16 Jul 2019 @ 11:08 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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