Arron Banks' Brexit campaign group 'could face fines over data breaches'

UK says reports of imminent Brexit deal are 'speculation'

The United Kingdom's data watchdog has announced it would slap a fine on Banks's insurance company and the campaign that played a decisive role in the 2016 European Union membership referendum outcome in Britain.

A pro-Brexit campaign and insurance company both run by Arron Banks are facing a fine by the United Kingdom data watchdog.

"A self-regulatory approach will not guarantee consistency, rigour or shore up public confidence", said Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham, launching a 111 page report into the "use of data analytics for political purposes" by her office.

Both Leave.EU and Eldon Insurance committed "serious" data protection breaches, according to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).

The ICO also found Leave.EU sent emails to its subscribers promoting Eldon, which trades as GoSkippy.

The Electoral Commission announced last week there were reasonable grounds to suspect that Mr Banks was not the true source of £8m in loans made to the Better for the Country organisation, which ran his group Leave.EU.

Banks dismissed the findings, tweeting "we may have accidentally sent a newsletter to customers..."

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Hitting back on Twitter, Banks appeared to dismiss the seriousness of the claims, writing: "Gosh we communicated with our supporters and offered then a 10% Brexit discount after the vote!"

Denham's deputy, James Dipple-Johnstone, said the watchdog also had concerns about the use of data for electronic marketing at Vote Leave, the official pro-Brexit campaign group led by Boris Johnson and Michael Gove.

The company, Eldon Insurance Services Ltd, and Leave.EU have been informed they face fines totalling £135,000, according to the BuzzFeed News website.

Since then, Banks has faced questions about his tactics and finances in the referendum.

It followed the discovery of evidence that some Eldon customers' personal data had been used by Leave.EU to unlawfully distribute political marketing messages, the ICO said.

"We may never know whether individuals were unknowingly influenced to vote a certain way in either the UK EU referendum or in the USA election campaigns", she said.

Meanwhile, Denham has called on the government to offer the United Kingdom a data privacy regime "fit for goal in the digital age, warning that voluntary moves by online company are not enough to solve the problem".

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