Lord Hain requests formal investigation of Leave.EU Brexit campaign’s South African links

Leave.EU Brexit campaign co-founder Arron Banks on his arrival to face questions by members of the British Parliament, Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, at Portcullis House in London, Britain, 12 June 2018. EPA-EFE/NEIL HALL

Lord Peter Hain has written to the UK’s Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Cressida Dick, requesting a formal investigation with regard to the source of the funds for a massive donation Brexiteer and Bristol businessman, Arron Banks, made to the Leave.EU campaign.

Several investigations, including by Open Democracy and Channel 4, have revealed that Brexiteer and Bristol businessman Arron Banks used the money to fund the pro-Brexit Leave.EU campaign by raising capital from Russian investors through two diamond mines he owned in Kimberley, South Africa.

Papers filed in a civil action in the Northern Cape High Court alleged that Banks had rerouted the money from the sale of the mines to bankroll other projects, including the Leave.EU campaign.

Banks made history in making the biggest ever financial donation to a political campaign in the history of British politics. He is being investigated with regard to his alleged Russian connections and the role this played in the result of Britain’s 2016 “Brexit” referendum.

Apart from the Kimberley mines, one of Banks’ closest associates, James Pryor, is South African-born and acted as an adviser to Margaret Thatcher and FW De Klerk.

Hain, in his letter to Dick, said criminal complaints against Banks had been lodged with the Directorate for Priority Crimes Litigation in South Africa as well as the Serious Fraud Office in London.

It has been confirmed to me that the South African authorities are taking the matter seriously and have appointed a multiskilled investigative task team,” said Hain.

He said that of concern to him was “the fact that Mr Banks has widely admitted that he led Brexit voters ‘up the garden path’ and thereby fraudulently misled them into voting to leave the EU.”

The purpose of his letter, he said, was to “formally request an investigation into the source of funds, allegedly paid by Banks to Leave.EU, to establish if same were indeed clean funds as well as to establish if there was any fraud on the voters”.

He asked the Metropolitan Police in Britain to join hands with authorities in South Africa “in case you might help them conclude the investigation from their side”.

He said that if it were found that the Leave.EU campaign had been funded with the proceeds of crime to mislead voters “then this would constitute perhaps the single largest fraud ever committed in modern British history”. DM


Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted


This article is free to read.

Sign up for free or sign in to continue reading.

Unlike our competitors, we don’t force you to pay to read the news but we do need your email address to make your experience better.

Nearly there! Create a password to finish signing up with us:

Please enter your password or get a sign in link if you’ve forgotten

Open Sesame! Thanks for signing up.

We would like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick...

…but we are not going to force you to. Over 10 million users come to us each month for the news. We have not put it behind a paywall because the truth should not be a luxury.

Instead we ask our readers who can afford to contribute, even a small amount each month, to do so.

If you appreciate it and want to see us keep going then please consider contributing whatever you can.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Daily Maverick Elections Toolbox

Feeling powerless in politics?

Equip yourself with the tools you need for an informed decision this election. Get the Elections Toolbox with shareable party manifesto guide.