Nigel Farage faces European Parliament ban over undisclosed gifts
Former UKIP leader summoned for formal hearing to explain reports he received £450,000 in the year after the EU referendum
Nigel Farage faces being banned from the European Parliament after he was set a 24-hour deadline to explain why he allegedly failed to declare almost half a million pounds in gifts from Brexiteer tycoon Arron Banks.
Earlier this year a Channel 4 News investigation unearthed documents suggesting UKIP’s one-time top donor provided Farage with a furnished Chelsea home, a car and driver, and other living expenses worth about £450,000.
It also reported that Banks, who is currently under investigation by the National Crime Agency over allegations of criminal offences by him and his unofficial leave campaign during the Brexit referendum campaign, organised and funded visits to the United States for Farage in the year after the referendum, including a trip in July 2016 to the Republican national convention.
The explosive findings prompted the European Parliament’s advisory committee to look into whether Farage broke EU rules by accepting funding from Banks but not declaring the donations on the parliament’s online register of interests.
Farage has now been issued a summons to a formal hearing today and the Daily Telegraph cites Parliament sources as saying he “is likely to be found in breach of EU rules even if he does turn up”.
If found guilty, “the MEP could be fined, banned for up to 30 days from the parliamentary activity, and, in what would be an unprecedented move, have his parliament badge temporarily revoked”, says the paper.
That could mean Farage, who was re-elected last month after his new Brexit Party secured around a third of all UK votes, being unable to enter the new parliament when it meets for the first time at the head of his phalanx of 29 new MEPs.
In a typically bellicose statement, Farage said of the summons: “What is this but an EU kangaroo court where I am given 24 hours notice about allegations picked up from press stories.”
“I will not be attending at such short notice. And if they try to bar me from the building, who else gives voice to the thousands of people who voted for me? Is this democracy EU style?”
Despite calling on the committee to instead investigate “the waste of public money by well-known MEPs”, the New European notes an old video was recently uncovered which showed Farage boasting about how MEPs can milk the system.
The pro-Remain paper also reports that last year Farage’s salary “was docked by half for misspending EU funds intended to staff his office”.