Press release 24th Sep 2019

Urgent Clarity Needed on Company Donations Following NCA Investigation

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24 September, London – The National Crime Agency (NCA) today issued a statement in which it said it had found no evidence of criminality after investigating a series of suspected EU referendum offences.

One aspect of the investigation focussed on the use of a company registered in the Isle of Man to facilitate a political contribution. The NCA concluded that making a contribution in this way did not contravene UK electoral law.

Duncan Hames, Director of Policy at Transparency International UK, said:

“By law an offshore company is not permitted to make political contributions in the UK. Now, it seems one can loan millions of pounds to a UK resident who goes on to donate these funds to a political campaign, and the police investigation concludes that this offshore company was not involved in these transactions in a manner which contravened the law. If correct, this drives a coach and horses through UK political campaign finance controls.

“It has been clear for some time that the rules on company political donations provide weak protection against funds from overseas, but the interpretation taken by law enforcement in this case make it non-existent. With a general election on the horizon, those seeking to distort our political process will take comfort they can interfere without consequence. Parliament needs to clarify the intent of the rules on company donations urgently.”

Harvey Gavin
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