Vote Leave campaigners branded 'criminals' amid allegations of 'cheating' in Brexit referendum


The QCs said that, from the documents and files they have seen and which have now been sent to the Electoral Commission, there are "strong grounds" that Vote Leave overspent, as it channelled money through another campaign, which it may have been co-ordinating with.

"A number of witnesses, including Shahmir Sanni, one of the Vote Leave volunteers, have now come forward with their accounts and produced emails, invoices, photographs and evidence from the internal systems of Vote Leave and BeLeave", she said.

A legal opinion calls for an "urgent investigation" to establish whether a prosecution could be brought against Vote Leave. "I know that people have been lied to and that the referendum wasn't legitimate".

A Victoria-based company allegedly had over $1 million funneled to it by the U.K.'s Vote Leave campaign, in what could have been a violation of spending rules during the Brexit referendum - though leaders of both the company and the campaign deny any wrongdoing.

These figures include Stephen Parkinson and Cleo Watson, who are now advisers to the Prime Minister, as well as the campaign director Dominic Cummings.

Cambridge Analytica is a data firm linked to President Donald Trump's campaign.

Referendum rules in the United Kingdom set out a spending limit for each campaign, but Shahmir Sanni, a Vote Leave volunteer, said his side found a way around that. "He says they could not have won without AIQ and it speaks volumes to the fact that they spend 40% of their budget on AIQ".

Vote Leave has previously said it made the donation to Mr Grimes because it was coming up to its £7m spending limit and wanted a way of using the £9.2m it had raised from individuals and companies on campaigning activities.

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BeLeave was set up to give young pro-Brexit campaigners a voice during the referendum. Now the group is being accused of using that data in political campaign strategies for the United States 2016 election.

"Vote Leave" donated £625,000 ($883,000) to an independent referendum organization called BeLeave, which may have flouted the limits on referendum spending because rather than a donation, Vote Leave said how the money was to be spent, whistle-blower Shahmir Sanni, who worked at BeLeave, said in the Observer, which cooperated with Channel 4 on the story.

"I respect the motives and understand the feelings of those who voted to remain in the European Union", he said. He later said he was "saddened" at Sanni's "factually incorrect and misleading" response.

It was "absolutely outrageous" that a Number 10 official had passed on to a New York Times journalist a copy of a blog by Cummings in which Parkinson effectively outed Sanni as gay, he said.

Mr Sanni, a British Pakistani, said he was forced to tell his family and that relatives in Pakistan could be in danger as a result.

But Mr Sanni said it was part of a smear campaign against him, which he said meant that his relatives in Pakistan had to go into hiding and he had to disclose his sexuality to his family.

The whistleblowers also have evidence that AggregateIQ was sending targeted ads on behalf of BeLeave at a time when it was working closely with Vote Leave, Allen said.

Mr Grimes told Channel 4 News he denied the allegations.