European Parliament to investigate Nigel Farage over gifts from insurance tycoon

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By Sandrine Amiel
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage at a campaign event
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage at a campaign event   -   Copyright  REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

The European Parliament is to open an investigation on British Eurosceptic MEP and Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage following allegations that he received £450,000 (€510,000) in undeclared donations by millionaire Arron Banks.

"[European Parliament] President Tajani referred the Farage case to the Advisory Committee on the Code of Conduct of Members yesterday (May 21). The committee's earliest possible meeting would be 4 June," a European Parliament spokesperson told Euronews.

"The Committee is the body responsible for implementing the Code of Conduct. At the request of the President, the Advisory Committee assesses alleged breaches and advises the President on possible action to be taken," the spokesperson said.

The announcement follows a report by Channel 4, a British broadcaster, claiming that insurance tycoon Arron Banks spent close to half a million pounds funding Nigel Farage's "lavish lifestyle," including "the rental of an exclusive £4.4m (€5m) Chelsea home."

Channel 4 also reported that Nigel Farage's promotional trips to the US were funded by Banks.

In a letter addressed to the European Parliament President last week, Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder said the subsidies received for these trips were not reported to Parliament, contravening to the institution's rules, and urged Tajani to investigate the matter.

Banks is currently under investigation by the British National Crime Agency over the source of money used to fund his Leave.EU referendum campaign.

Nigel Farage's Brexit party was not immediately available to comment on the case. According to Channel 4, the British politician has declined to comment on the outcome of the network's investigation.

Opinion polls ahead of EU elections put Farage’s newly created Brexit Party well ahead of its rivals, including Prime Minister Theresa May’s governing Conservatives and the main opposition Labour Party, in the countdown to the vote, which in Britain is held on May 23.