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The Electoral Commission said the group had shown “disregard for the law” by failing to keep accurate accounts or reveal the source of its donations, and then ignoring legal demands to provide the information.The anti-immigration group, which has been banned from Facebook and Twitter despite once being retweeted by US president Donald Trump, was deregistered by the commission in November 2017 for failing to meet the “basic requirements”.
It has since complained that the watchdog has blocked multiple attempts to re-register, accusing it of political bias and promising to take the case “all the way to the High Court if necessary.″
But Britain First has now been fined tens of thousands of pounds by the commission, which said it saw “little to suggest” the group appreciated its legal responsibilities.
Britain First leaders Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen were jailed last year after being found guilty of religiously-aggravated harassment.Britain First leaders Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen were jailed last year after being found guilty of religiously-aggravated harassment.MoreLouise Edwards, director of regulation, said: “Today’s announcement concludes a thorough investigation into Britain First’s financial affairs which has resulted in us finding multiple breaches of the law.
“Registered political parties must provide full, accurate data on their donations and accounts so that voters can see where their money comes from.
“Britain First’s inability to meet certain basic requirements led to a disappointing lack of transparency into the party’s finances.
“The party’s failure to comply with a statutory notice is a serious offence and shows a disregard for the law.
“Throughout our investigation, we saw little to suggest that Britain First appreciated that if it wants to contest elections, it must meet its legal responsibilities, which is why we have imposed the penalties that we have.”
The fines include a maximum £20,000 for failing to comply with a notice requiring Britain First to provide information to the commission.
There was also an £11,000 penalty for failing to keep accurate financial records of transactions in 2016.
Failing to provide quarterly donations reports in 2016 resulted in a £7,700 fine – around £200,000 of undeclared donations were discovered by the commission’s investigation.
And a £5,500 fine was imposed for failing to have its 2016 statement of accounts audited.
A payment arrangement has been agreed between Britain First and the commission.
Related…Facebook Bans Far-Right Groups EDL, BNP, Britain First And The National FrontBritain First Leaders ‘Called Muslims Bastards And Rapists’ Court HearsCourtroom Descends Into Chaos As Britain First Leaders Are Jailed Over Hate Crimes. yahoo
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