Eldon Insurance and Leave.EU fined

Arron Banks the owner of Eldon Insurance was one of the key players during the referendum campaign

The U.K. data commissioner has fined a campaign backing Britain's departure from the European Union and an insurance company founded by its millionaire backer a total of 135,000 pounds ($176,000) for breaches of data laws.

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.

The ICO also warned that Leave.EU and the insurance company face fines of £60,000 each in relation to the sending of more than 1 million emails to Leave.EU subscribers which included GoSkippy marketing material.

The Information Commissioner's Office issued a "notice of intent" warning of penalties after it said it found evidence that email addresses of Eldon Insurance customers were accessed by Leave.EU to send political marketing messages.

The ICO called the emails a serious breach of data protection law, with nearly 300,000 sent to the insurance company's customers containing a Leave.EU newsletter.

The Electoral Commission announced last week there were reasonable grounds to suspect that Mr Banks was not the true source of £8m in loans made to the Better for the Country organisation, which ran his group Leave.EU.

"Gosh, we communicated with our supporters and offered them a 10 percent Brexit discount after the vote!"

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Banks, nicknamed Bankski by mischievous campaigners, has faced questions about his relationship with Russian Federation and funding discrepancies in multiple Brexit campaigns.

"We found no evidence that Big Data Dolphins ever actually functioned, and no evidence that Leave.EU, Eldon or any associated companies had transferred any personal data relating to United Kingdom citizens to the UoM".

But giving evidence to parliament's inquiry into fake news on Tuesday, Denham told MPs she had "concerns about ongoing misuse of personal data" at Banks, Eldon Insurance and Leave.EU.

"We need to look at whether the processes are working to be able to separate the data from political campaigning and from insurance use", she said.

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham has been probing the use of data analytics for political purposes.

The fines "could be significantly higher under data protection law if we find misdeeds", she told the Commons digital, culture, media and sport committee.

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