November 6, 2018 / 10:58 AM / 10 days ago

UK Brexiteer Banks's company fined over data breaches

LONDON (Reuters) - The United Kingdom’s data watchdog said on Tuesday it was fining Brexit campaigner Arron Banks’s insurance company and the Leave.EU campaign for serious breaches of electronic marketing regulations.

Brexit campaigner, Arron Banks, appears on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, in London, Britain November 4, 2018. Jeff Overs/BBC/Handout via REUTERS

The move piles pressure on Banks, who is being investigated by Britain’s serious crime agency over the true source of 8 million pounds ($10.4 million) in loans used to finance one of the main groups which campaigned to leave the EU.

The Information Commissioner’s Office said in a report to parliament that Eldon Insurance and Leave.EU would each be fined 60,000 pounds ($78,370) for sending Leave.EU subscribers insurance marketing without their consent.

Leave.EU will be fined an additional 15,000 pounds for a separate breach of sending Eldon insurance customers emails which contained a Leave.EU newsletter.

“We are investigating allegations that Eldon Insurance Services Limited shared customer data obtained for insurance purposes with Leave.EU,” it said.

Banks, who was pictured with U.S. President Donald Trump and leading Brexiteer Nigel Farage outside a gilded elevator soon after Trump’s 2016 election victory, has cast the various investigations of him at an attempt to undermine Brexit.

“Gosh we communicated with our supporters and offered them a 10 percent Brexit discount after the vote! So what?” Banks said on Twitter.

In a response, Leave.EU said a newsletter was transmitted to insurance customers by accident.

“All of our companies take data protection extremely seriously,” Leave.EU said.

It said the Information Commissioner’s office had sabotaged its right of reply by leaking findings to the media in advance of the report’s official publication.

The Information Commissioner said it was still looking at how the Remain side of the referendum campaign handled personal data.

($1 = 0.7656 pounds)

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Michael Holden

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