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…

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…

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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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…

Banks Formally Files Libel Proceedings Against Carole Cadwalladr

Last month Arron Banks warned Carole Cadwalladr that he was initiating libel action against her over her claims that he had a “covert relationship” with and had been offered money by the Russian Government. Over 14 days have passed and Carole has failed to respond – Banks has now formally initiated proceedings in the High Court. Banks insists that there is no truth to her claims whatsoever, and he’s had enough…

Banks is suing Carole on two grounds over two separate speeches she made, Carole’s claims are expected to be giving another airing in an upcoming Netflix documentary called The Great Hack. If Netflix repeat the claim Banks will, according to Andy Wigmore, be suing them too…

Banks Suing Cadwalladr Over Russian Money Claims

Arron Banks has finally had enough of the codswallop. He is suing Carole Cadwalladr for defamation on two grounds; she claimed in a speech (above) to The Convention two weeks ago that “We know the Russian Government offered money to Arron Banks.”

Secondly, in the Ted Talk above she said “And I’m not even going to go into the lies that Arron Banks has told about his covert relationship with the Russian Government.”

Banks says he took no money and he has no covert relationship. Now he is going to sue her to prove it or pay up…

Carole Uncovers Shocking New Arron BankSki Plot

Carole Cadwalladr has uncovered one of her most sensational conspiracies yet – this time Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore have apparently used a ski trip to the Italian Alps as cover for a secret plot to convince the Italian ‘fascist’ government to block an extension of Article 50. Pulitzer-level stuff…

Carole uses all of her award-winning investigative skills to piece together a number of crucial clues which reveal the inescapable truth. Incredibly, Wigmore turned his Twitter GPS-locator off for 24 hours after he got to Venice last week. A sure sign of guilty behaviour.

Even more shockingly, Banks and Wigmore decided to go skiing in Cortina, when Wigmore already owns a chalet in Wengen. The evidence is incontrovertible.

Meanwhile, Agent Farage has been busy implementing the other half of the top-secret plan – which is now “in plain sight” – by making speeches in the European Parliament calling for EU leaders to block any extension to Article 50. Thankfully serious political heavyweights like the SNP’s Justice Spokeswoman Joanna Cherry QC have ridden to the rescue to help foil the egregious plot. Phew!

By coincidence it was Banks’ insurance firm’s corporate ski jolly last week. Salvini must have been delighted to be invited along…

Arron Banks Calls Channel 4’s Russian Gold Story “24 Carat Bollocks”

In case you missed it last night, here’s Channel 4 News’ 14 minute re-hash of an old Guardian story from six months ago revealing nothing new. Despite all the scrutiny, nobody has yet found a single Ruble…

Channel 4 News are having a season of Banks stories this week, all ahead of the court hearing with the Electoral Commission later this month. They will allege that he was a donor who gave hundreds of thousands to UKIP, Labour Leave, Grassroots Out and UKIP. Who knew? Everyone.

Channel 4 News should look into Lord Sainsbury, he gave millions to groups on the other side opposed to Brexit. Who knew? Everyone.

Expect more tales of African adventures, Channel 4 reckon Banks offered a South African cop a bribe…

Information Commissioner Fines Arron Banks £120,000

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has issued fines totalling £120,000 to an EU referendum campaign and an insurance company for serious breaches of electronic marketing laws and is set to review how both are complying with data protection laws. However this is down from the £135,000 the ICO provisionally announced in £120,000…

The ICO investigation found that Arron Banks’ Leave.EU and Eldon Insurance were closely linked with the result that Leave.EU used Eldon Insurance customers’ details unlawfully to send almost 300,000 political marketing messages. Leave.EU has been fined £15,000 for this breach. The ICO is warning Banks that it is a criminal offence to obstruct an ICO audit or destroy information covered by it and that they plan to go into the joint Leave.EU/Eldon Insurance offices and assess staff and documentation…

They also found that Eldon Insurance carried out two unlawful direct marketing campaigns. The campaigns involved the sending of over one million emails to Leave.EU subscribers without sufficient consent. Leave.EU has been fined £45,000 and Eldon Insurance has been fined £60,000 for the breach. Worth remembering that this was non-political advertising after the referendum – meanwhile the Lib Dems are still under investigation for selling data to the Remain campaign during the referendum…

“AD10S EU” Number Plate for £15,000

For a mere £15,000 this number plate could be yours. According to the Ebay seller it is genuine. The seller’s pitch reads

A truly, totally unique number plate rarely comes to market but this is one of those times. The perfect present for the person in your life who will miss the European Union and wishes to commemorate it in the best way with this poignant souvenir! Ideal for Spanish speakers as the plate translates to – ‘Goodbye EU’. After all the voting, the controversy, the turmoil, the tears, the cheers, this is the number plate that sums it all up! The plate is not on a vehicle so once paper work completed it is all yours to fit onto your car so it could not be simpler!

If the bad boy of brexit is good, Father Christmas might bring it for Arron Banks to replace his M15 SPY…

The Other Cambridge Analytica: Whistleblower Wylie’s Own Dodgy Data Dealings

While the ICO’s report into data use in the referendum principally served to blow apart Carole Cadwalladr’s main Brexit conspiracy, one aspect of the report that has largely been overlooked is the role of data-hustler-turned-whistleblower Chris Wylie. The one who made an international media and public speaking career out of setting up Cambridge Analytica and then dobbing them in…

A notable feature of the ICO report is how few people are explicitly named in it – not even Arron Banks is. The few that are include Alexander Nix, the CEO of Cambridge Analytica, Dr Aleksandr Kogan, the academic whose company harvested the data behind the Cambridge Analytica scandal, a couple of other individuals related to Cambridge Analytica, and Chris Wylie. Not exactly the good guys in this whole saga…

Wylie’s inclusion in the report is not in the context of his role as whistleblower, it is as a key part of how Cambridge Analytica came to acquire the Facebook data at the heart of the scandal in the first place:

“In May 2014, Dr Aleksandr Kogan… offered to undertake the work himself as he had developed his own app called the ‘CPW Lab App’… We have seen evidence that CA staff, including whistleblower Chris Wylie, were involved in setting up these contacts through their networks of friends and colleagues; many of whom had been involved in earlier campaigns in North America…

“Once the company was set up and a contract signed with CA, Dr Kogan, with some help from Chris Wylie, overhauled the ‘CPW Lab App’ changing the name, terms and conditions of the app into the ‘GSR App’ which ultimately became thisisyourdigitallife (the app).”

Wylie himself has never denied his role in creating Cambridge Analytica, telling Damian Collins’ DCMS Select Committee in March: “To be clear, Cambridge Analytica was set up in large part because of the research I was doing at SCL Group [Cambridge Analytica’s parent company].”

However, Cambridge Analytica was not the only company which received the illicit Facebook data set that resulted from Wylie’s work with Dr Kogan. As has been reported in North American press (and confirmed by Mark Zuckerberg to the US Congress) but largely ignored in the UK, the harvested data was also acquired by one other company, Eunoia Technologies. Eunoia Technologies Inc. was a separate company registered in the US on 12th June 2014… by Chris Wylie.

Wylie’s background is in centre-left politics, he worked for many years with Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party in Canada and also worked with the Liberal Democrats in the UK. Since becoming a whistleblower, he has described social data harvesting as “grossly unethical”…

However, that didn’t stop Eunoia unsuccessfully trying to flog its services to Donald Trump’s campaign director in early 2015, before Eunoia again attempted to sell their services to the Remain campaign in November 2015, as Private Eye reported in April this year. Finally, he had yet another pitch rebuffed in January 2016, this time with Vote Leave’s Dominic Cummings dismissing his offer of “psychographic microtargeting”. Evidently Cummings was not the only one who concluded they were “charlatans”…

Zuckerberg told the US Congress that Wylie had certified to Facebook that Eunoia deleted its data in August 2016, but added that Facebook had “no way to confirm” activities that had “taken place off Facebook and its systems”. Eunoia’s UK branch didn’t wind up as a company until 24 October 2017.

The ICO’s report itself is inconclusive about the fate of the Facebook data, confirming that their own investigations into it are still ongoing:

“Our concerns also extend to who else may have received the harvested data and what they then did with it; our enquiries are active and continuing in that regard…”

“We will be making sure any organisations, which may still have copies of the Facebook data and its derivatives demonstrate its deletion.”

Given his intimate involvement in the genesis of the scandal, it would be remarkable if Wylie and Eunoia were not key lines of inquiry for the ICO in this regard. Only two companies are known to have received the illicit data – Cambridge Analytica and Eunoia. The ICO obtained a search warrant and raided the offices of one. What has it done about the other?

Information Commissioner Crushes Carole’s Conspiracies

Guido readers will be well-versed in Carole Cadwalladr’s various conspiracy theories about how a secret nexus of data companies conspired to rig the Brexit vote. As well as the corrections that would inevitably follow her front page ‘revelations’, buried on page 50 of the next week’s Observer…

In an inconvenient twist for the Orwell Prize-winning journalist, the report out today from the Information Commissioner’s Office has crushed most of her central claims. Terrible when a good story gets undermined by basic facts…

Carole claimed that Leave.EU was working with Cambridge Analytica. The ICO found that there was “no evidence of a working relationship between Cambridge Analytica and Leave.EU” beyond “preliminary discussions”:

“[B]oth parties stated that only preliminary discussions took place, and the relationship did not move forward when Leave.EU failed to attain the designation as the official Leave campaign… Based on our enquiries, testimony and interviews, we conclude that this is indeed the case – there is no evidence of a working relationship between CA and Leave.EU proceeding beyond this initial phase.”

Carole claimed that the Canadian data firm, AIQ, who worked with Vote Leave, was effectively the “Canadian branch” of Cambridge Analytica, although she has since retracted this claim. The ICO scotched this one too:

“Whilst there was clearly a close working relationship between the entities and several staff members were known to each other, we have no evidence that AIQ has been anything other than a separate legal entity… ultimately we have concluded that this was a contractual relationship.”

Carole’s whole conspiracy centered around the notion that AIQ and Cambridge Analytica had shared data in the referendum. In fact the ICO found no evidence that either Cambridge Analytica or its parent company SCL Elections were involved in any data analytics work on the referendum at all:

“We found no evidence of unlawful activity in relation to the personal data of UK citizens and AIQ’s work with SCLE. To date, we have no evidence that SCLE and CA were involved in any data analytics work with the EU Referendum campaigns.”

Meanwhile Vote Leave was given a clean bill of health for its data work with AIQ:

“We know that Vote Leave had a commercial relationship with AIQ. In respect of that work, we have not obtained any evidence that Vote Leave transferred or processed personal data outside the UK unlawfully – or that it processed personal data without the consent of data subjects… Our further investigations into AIQ revealed no evidence of the unlawful processing of UK personal data.”

After massively bigging up the report yesterday, Carole has been unusually quiet on Twitter since it landed, mainly complaining that no-one was paying attention to the “MUCH bigger story” (was it being “deliberately buried”?) and even accusing Buzzfeed – of all places – of doing Arron Banks’ “dirty work”Maybe she’s still feeling a little bit sore after *that* article

Remainers were hoping for an explosive report to blow up Brexit. Instead it revealed that it’s the Remain campaign and the Lib Dems who are under investigation for potential data breaches, while Arron Banks’ looming fines are almost entirely for using his Leave.EU mailing list to flog insurance after the referendum, not for activities during the campaign. The only thing the report blew up was Carole’s conspiracy. She was after all, as Isabel Oakeshott famously said, “chasing unicorns”…

Channel 4 News is a “Fake News Propaganda Channel” – Banks


Banks got positively Trumpian on his way out of the BBC after doing his Marr interview. Accusing Channel 4 News of being a “fake news propaganda channel”. Banks is clearly still sore from the bonkers accusations by the show that he tried to start an African coup with a couple of handguns bought for security guards at a mine in which he has a financial interest. The bizarre allegations amounted to nothing.

Channel 4 News is getting increasingly tetchy about being boycotted by government ministers and other Conservative politicians. The situation should hardly surprise them given that they are at times more of a campaigning organisation than a news organisation. Their anchorman reportedly wants to “f**k the Tories”. That’s fine if you are a newspaper or, dare Guido say, a website that does campaigning journalism. The standards are very different for a regulated news broadcaster. Channel 4 News doesn’t seem to even pretend to seek objectivity nowadays…

Rich’s Monday Morning View

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Arron Banks Would Remain in Hindsight

Arron Banks rounded off his stormy Marr interview by saying that he would favour the UK remaining in the EU in hindsight. Even if only just to have one more backhanded jab at Remainers…[…] Read the rest

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Arron Banks on Marr in Full

Arron Banks’ much-debated appearance on the Andrew Marr Show ultimately generated far more heat than light, with the veteran broadcaster struggling to land a firm glove on a slippery Banks. Did anyone really learn anything new? Watch for yourself and see…[…] Read the rest

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Arron Banks Referred to National Crime Agency

It will be up to the law to decide whether self-proclaimed Brexit ‘Bad Boy’ Arron Banks truly deserves his moniker after the Electoral Commission referred him and various others involved in the running of Leave.EU to the National Crime Agency. The Electoral Commission’s investigation has focused around loans made to Banks’ ‘Better for the Country’ organisation, with the Commission saying that it has “reasonable grounds to suspect” that “Mr Banks was not the true source of the £8m loans made to Better for the Country” and that the loans had come from “impermissible sources”.[…] Read the rest

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Andy Wigmore Joins the Tories

Arron Banks’ sidekick Andy Wigmore appears to have finally succeeded in his bid to join the Tories after the pair’s attempts were repeatedly rebuffed by CCHQ. By hook or by crook, the self-proclaimed Brexit ‘Bad Boy’ is undeniably now a card-carrying member of the Tories:

Looks like CCHQ’s net can’t hold the Blue Wave…

UPDATE: Party Chairman Brandon Lewis has told LBC’s Iain Dale that the party Board “decided that neither Andy Wigmore nor Arron Banks would be members of the party.” He explained that they were refused for “very publicly and openly” trying to “bring down the leadership of the Conservative Party.” When Guido breaks the news to him Wigmore retorts to Guido “So is Boris!”[…] Read the rest

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Arron Banks New Conservative Way Forward Treasurer

Arron Banks’ attempts to rejoin the Tories may have stalled but that has not stopped him from getting back involved with Tory politics. Guido has learned that Banks has been appointed Treasurer of Thatcherite pressure group Conservative Way Forward. 100 Tory MPs joined CWF’s new parliamentary council two months ago, including 8 sitting Cabinet Ministers (now 7 following DD’s resignation).[…] Read the rest

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Brexit Bad Boy Banks Joins Tories

Top trolling. To be fair he was a Tory branch chairman back in the day. It will be interesting to see if he is anathema to Tory leadership hopefuls or not…

UPDATE: This evening the Tories are briefing that they’re not going to let him in, Banks is saying he has already got his acceptance email:

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