Brexit: Leave.EU fined?70,000 for breaking electoral law during referendum" width="976" height="549">
Liz Bilney (left) has been referred to the police
Campaign group Leave.EU has been fined Leave.EU co-founder Arron Banks called it a "politically motivated attack".Responding to the Electoral Commission's findings, he said: "What a shambles, we will see them in court."
'Inaccurately reported'
The watchdog said Leave.EU had exceeded the spending limit for "non-party registered campaigners" by at least 10% by failing to include at least ?77,380 in its spending return - it added the overspend "may well have been considerably higher than that".It did not include services Leave.EU had received from a US campaign strategy firm, Goddard Gunster, "inaccurately reported" three loans - including who had provided them - and did not provide invoices or receipts for 97 separate payments, which totalled ?80,224. The Commission has also referred Leave.EU chief executive Liz Bilney to the police, saying it had reasonable grounds to suspect she had committed criminal offences. Bob Posner, the Commission's director of political finance and regulation, said it was "disappointing" that Leave.EU had been "unable to abide by these rules"."The level of fine we have imposed has been constrained by the cap on the Commission's fines," he added.The investigation also looked into whether Leave.EU had received any services from Cambridge Analytica which should have been declared on its spending return but found no evidence that the group received donations or paid-for services from the political consultancy. Leave.EU's relationship with the controversial firm "did not develop beyond initial scoping work", according to the Commission.Leave.EU are not the only group to fall foul of spending rules in the EU Referendum campaign. The Lib Dems were fined ?18,000 by the Commission last year while the official Vote Leave group are still under investigation. The pro-EU European Movement UK and UKIP have also been fined over their referendum spending.
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