Life is rapidly becoming less comfortable for the alleged “man who bankrolled Brexit” Arron Banks. Not only does he have the Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr on his case, and a whole string of fact checking in his wake consistently concluding that he is a congenital and unconvincing liar, but he also now has the tenacious and unflinching John Sweeney homing in on him. It is a prospect he clearly finds difficult to handle.
The issue where Sweeney has caught Banksy in what is clearly Check, and may be Check Mate, is over the source of the fabled £8 million in loans and donations which he made to the Leave campaign during the run-up to the 2016 EU referendum. What is yet worse for Banks and his pal Andy Wigmore is the sight of two rank amateurs trying desperately to make their latest pursuer go away. They might as well piss into the wind.
Banks told Sweeney he didn’t “give a fuck” about him. Unwise. “You don’t have to ‘give a fuck about’ me. But @Arron_banks what about public opinion? If you are not open about the source of your £8m to Leave, then people’s faith in the integrity of the 1st referendum may suffer. Your company suspected of being source of £8m has no address”.
Nice referendum result you’ve got there Banksy, pity if you were to damage it through your own stupidity. But on he ploughed, protesting that he was a UK resident and taxpayer. “No, @Arron_banks @ElectoralCommUK suspects IoM Rock Holdings is source of £8m to Leave. It has no address, is in default and its ‘publicly available’ accounts are not so. So the source of biggest donation in UK politics is as clear as mud”. Irrelevant, then.
Then came Wiggy to try and divert attention on who was a permissible donor: “that’s a false distinction. The law on political money is that it must be from a British voter or company. @ElectoralCommUK suspects the source of @Arron_banks’ £8m is Rock Holdings of IoM and that is politically not British, offshore and impermissible”.
So his intervention didn’t work, either. Nor did Wiggy’s next move, which was to talk about “publicly available” accounts and then admit they weren’t really: “your sentence ‘“publicly available” accounts are available to who we choose’ contains the biggest logic bomb of 2018. A logic bomb is an absurd internal contradiction”. And it got worse.
Banks suggested the Isle of Man company, Rock Holdings, had a new address. “Sorry, @Arron_banks we've checked IoM registry website + it says nothing has changed: ‘Strike Off Action has commenced against this company’ and ‘This company is due to be Dissolved or Struck Off’. This is your entity that @ElectoralCommUK suspects is source of £8m to Leave”. Lying about Sweeney doorstepping someone didn’t work, either.
Wigmore then tried again to divert Sweeney, claiming that he should be looking at Rock Services, not Rock Holdings. “Nothing in Rock Services accounts shows £8m to Leave”.
So another failed diversion attempt, as was Banks’ claim that all was OK as the cops were looking into it already. “Cops another matter @Arron_banks. £8m to Leave, @ElectoralCommUK suspects it came from Rock Holdings of IoM and that’s impermissible. Then @BBCNewsnight finds RH has no address, is in default and its ‘publicly available’ accounts are not so. Political money should be transparent”.
Wiggy tried the same tactic. He, too, failed. “No, @andywigmore, crime investigation into @Arron_banks is different. Political money must be clear and British. Mr Banks' £8m to Leave came, suspects @ElectoralCommUK, from Rock Holdings of IoM. It has no address, is in default and its ‘publicly available’ accounts are not so”.
Banks and Wigmore might as well not have bothered. They got nowhere smearing and threatening Ms Cadwalladr and Peter Jukes. They will be even less successful trying it on with John Sweeney. They are a pair or rank amateurs with whom the law and the media is rapidly catching up. And if Sweeney is right, they could be in serious trouble.
That’s the kind of trouble that aggressive Tweeting can’t deter. Never mind, eh Banksy?
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