Tag Archives: National Crime Agency

If you believed Leave.EU’s claim to be clear of police investigation… think again!

Arron Banks: It seems he and Leave.EU are still under investigation, no matter what that organisation claims.

Eurosceptic referendum campaign organisation Leave.EU has been trumpeting a claim that the Met police has dropped criminal investigations into its behaviour in the run-up to the 2016 vote.

Oh, really?

It seems the claim may have been premature.

While the organisation embarked on a publicity campaign that included showering abuse on its detractors – aided and abetted by its friends in the mainstream media, it seems there was at least one dissenting voice.

It belongs to the National Crime Agency – the organisation running the investigation into Leave.EU.

It issued a statement yesterday:

“This is a live investigation, and we are unable to discuss any operational detail, however we are progressing the investigation as expeditiously as possible and will report the outcome of the investigation at the earliest opportunity, once all matters have been thoroughly investigated.”

So there you have it.

It seems all those enthusiastic ejaculations by the Leave.EU camp have been a little premature.

Read more at: Zelo Street: Leave EU Investigations NOT All Dropped

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Arron Banks and Leave.EU referred to National Crime Agency – but will it investigate? [POLL]

Arron Banks: Is he really under investigation?

As I type these words, there is much celebration on the social media at the news that Arron Banks and Leave.EU have been referred to the National Crime Agency for investigation over suspected offences related to the EU referendum of 2016.

Sorry to pour cold water on all this heat, but:

Aren’t the police refusing to investigate EU referendum offences because they are “politically sensitive”?

Here‘s the latest development, as reported by BBC News:

“The National Crime Agency is investigating Arron Banks and his Leave.EU campaign for alleged offences committed at the 2016 EU referendum.

“Mr Banks and another senior campaign figure, Liz Bilney, were referred to the agency by the Electoral Commission.

“The watchdog said it suspected money given to the campaign came “from impermissible sources”.

“Mr Banks has consistently denied any wrongdoing in connection to the referendum campaign.

“The Electoral Commission investigation focused on £2m reported to have been loaned to Better for the Country, which ran Leave.EU, by Mr Banks and his group of insurance companies and a further £6m reported to have been given to the organisation, on behalf of Leave.EU, by Arron Banks alone.

“Of this, £2.9m was used to fund referendum spending on behalf of Leave.EU and donations to other campaign groups during the EU referendum, the Electoral Commission said.”

There is no comment from the National Crime Agency but the reaction on the social media has been ecstatic:

 

Carole Cadwalladr, whose investigative journalism managed to take the matter this far, had the following to say:

I have asked her whether she seriously believes an investigation will take place and will publish her response.

Let’s remind ourselves of what happened when Leave.EU was referred to the Metropolitan Police. This is from October 11:

“The Metropolitan Police has stalled the launch of any criminal investigation into three pro-Brexit campaigns – citing “political sensitivities”.

“Despite being handed their first dossier of evidence of potential crimes committed by pro-Leave groups over five months ago, the police force has made no progress nor logged a formal case into the activities of either Vote Leave, fronted by Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, or Leave.EU, the pro-Brexit campaign bankrolled by Arron Banks.

“In May and July this year, the UK Electoral Commission reported that multiple breaches of electoral law, false declarations and covert campaign over-spending had taken place by pro-Leave groups during the 2016 EU referendum.

“The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) was then expected to investigate whether key individuals, including Leave.EU’s campaign chief, Liz Bilney; Vote Leave’s board official, David Halsall; and the founder of BeLeave, Darren Grimes, had committed related criminal offences.

“The Met revealed it has yet to start any formal investigation, and has remained effectively stalled for months in “assessing evidence”.

“Pushed on why there has been no progress, or no formal case logged, a Scotland Yard spokesman admitted there were issues and “political sensitivities” that had to be taken into account. The Yard spokesman later added that the political issues related to “any allegation or referral relating to an election, and much else besides.””

What do you think will happen?

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Cameron aide charged over child abuse images – at long last

A Rock in a hard place: Patrick Rock, formerly a senior civil servant and policy advisor, who now faces allegations that he possessed indecent images of child abuse.

A Rock in a hard place: Patrick Rock, formerly a senior civil servant and policy advisor, who now faces allegations that he possessed indecent images of child abuse.

Patrick Rock, a former aide of David Cameron and protege of Margaret Thatcher, has been charged with three counts of making an indecent photograph of a child, and with possession of 59 indecent images of childrenmore than four months after he was arrested on suspicion of child pornography offences.

Crown Prosecution Service lawyers assessed the images as Level C, meaning they showed sexual activity between adults and children.

This is the man who, as deputy head of 10 Downing Street’s policy unit, had been working on policies that are allegedly intended to make it harder to find images of child abuse on the Internet.

He was arrested on February 13, only hours after resigning his position with the government. Coincidence?

Nothing was mentioned in the press at the time, but days later the Daily Mail started stirring up historical allegations against Labour’s Harriet Harman, Jack Dromey and Patricia Hewitt. Coincidence?

It seems suspicions were raised in the Labour Party, because shadow minister Jon Ashworth asked, in the public interest:

  • When were 10 Downing Street and David Cameron first made aware that Mr Rock may have been involved in an offence?
  • How much time passed until Mr Rock was questioned about the matter and the police alerted?
  • What contact have officials had with Mr Rock since his resignation?
  • What was Mr Rock’s level of security clearance?

And, most importantly:

  • Why were details of Mr Rock’s resignation not made public immediately?

Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood stonewalled: “Our … actions were driven by the overriding importance of not jeopardising either [the National Crime Agency’s] investigation or the possibility of a prosecution.”

He said: “We judged it was inappropriate to make an announcement while the NCA investigations were continuing.”

David Cameron has declined to comment on the latest development, saying it is a matter for the courts.

He’s changed his tune, hasn’t he?

When Andy Coulson was still facing charges in the phone hacking trial, Cameron couldn’t wait to get on television and make a statement, and never mind whether it was in contempt of court.

All in all, it seems we are facing yet another cover-up bid by this “most open government ever”.

Let us not forget that this happened in the same week that Iain Duncan Smith lost his legal appeal to keep problems with Universal Credit veiled in secrecy.

The DWP had insisted publication of the papers, warning of the dangers likely to be caused by Universal Credit, would have a “chilling effect” on the DWP’s working – a standard defence (see Andrew Lansley’s successful bid to prevent publication of the risk register, detailing problems with his calamitous Health and Social Care Act) that was thrown out by Judge Wikeley in a trice.

The DWP then argued that the order to publish was perverse – that the tribunal responsible had reached a decision which no reasonable tribunal would have reached. Judge Wikeley found that the challenge “does not get near clearing this high hurdle”.

Finally – and most desperately – the DWP tried to argue that the tribunal had not given due weight to the expertise of a DWP witness. Judge Wikeley had to point out that, by law, he cannot substitute his own view of the facts for that taken by the original tribunal.

The DWP was then sent away to consider whether to lodge another appeal.

That’s at least three attempts to hide facts from the public in a single week (it is arguable that Cameron spoke up about Coulson in order to cause a mistrial and prevent him from being convicted of two charges; he cannot say he was unaware of what he was doing, because he has already been rebuked by another judge, earlier this year, for commenting on the trial of Nigella Lawson’s former assistants. In addition, wasn’t it suspicious that Coulson’s defence team immediately leapt up to call for a mistrial ruling, based on the “maelstrom of commentary” Cameron stirred up?) from – as previously mentioned, this “most open government ever”.

There may be more that haven’t become public knowledge.

Does David Cameron really think the public will put their trust in him, with a record like that?

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Heywood on Rock: Announcement ‘inappropriate’ while investigations were ongoing

Sir Jeremy Heywood. [Image: PA]

Sir Jeremy Heywood. [Image: PA]

The cabinet secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, has answered queries from the Labour Party over the way the arrest of Patrick Rock was handled by 10 Downing Street.

Labour’s shadow minister Jon Ashworth had raised questions about the arrest of Mr Rock, formerly a senior advisor in Downing Street, on suspicion of an offence relating to images of child abuse.

Principal among these was the following: “Why were details of his resignation [which would have included the allegation of possessing child abuse imagery] not made public immediately?”

This is important as the Daily Mail revived ancient allegations that members of the Labour Party had been connected with a paedophile group, in the period between Mr Rock’s resignation/arrest and the revelation that this had taken place.

Sir Jeremy’s response: “Our … actions were driven by the overriding importance of not jeopardising either [the National Crime Agency’s] investigation or the possibility of a prosecution.

“We judged it was inappropriate to make an announcement while the NCA investigations were continuing.”

Do you think that’s good enough?

In any other recent situation involving allegations relating to child abuse connected to a public figure, the arrests have been publicised immediately. Look at Dave Lee Travis and William Roache (both of whom were acquitted, although the former must go back for a retrial).

Look at Freddie Starr – TV cameras were outside his home when the police went to talk to him (before any arrests were made).

These are people with a far higher public profile than some Downing Street advisor – yet he got special treatment, with a delay of publicity, and the Mail slid a ‘dead cat’ attack on Labour into the gap.

Remember when I last wrote about this, two days ago? I made it clear that Heywood needed to make his answer good, as “it would be unfortunate for his career if it became clear at a later time that he had tried to protect anybody. Closing ranks to look after your own people is a human response – but inappropriate at high levels of government.”

Isn’t that exactly what has happened?

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