October 11, 2018 / 6:41 PM / 6 days ago

UK police say still assessing whether crimes committed by pro-Brexit campaigners

LONDON (Reuters) - British police said on Thursday they were still assessing whether to launch an investigation into whether pro-Brexit groups had committed criminal offences during the campaign in the 2016 referendum on leaving the European Union.

Britain’s electoral regulator has made two referrals to police to look at potential offences committed over election spending by groups including Britain’s officially designated Brexit campaign group, Vote Leave.

“The first referral was received on May 11, 2018, and concerns Leave.EU, the second referral was received on July 17, 2018, and concerns Vote Leave and BeLeave,” London police said in a statement.

“In relation to both referrals, subsequently on Sept. 7, 2018, the MPS received over 900 documents from the Electoral Commission, which are being assessed by the MPS in order to make an informed decision as to whether a criminal investigation is required.”

In July, Vote Leave was fined 61,000 pounds ($81,000) for breaching spending rules by working with BeLeave in the referendum which saw voters back Brexit by 52-48 percent.

The commission said serious breaches of the law had been committed by Vote Leave, which was fronted by leading Brexiteers such as former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, now environment minister.

Last month, London’s High Court ruled that the Electoral Commission had misinterpreted the spending law when it allowed Vote Leave to donate to BeLeave, a smaller aligned group, during the campaign.

Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Toby Chopra

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