France foils terror attack

Updated 23 December 2015
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France foils terror attack

PARIS: A terror plot was foiled last week in the French region of Orleans, southwest of Paris, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Tuesday, as the government prepared constitutional changes to enshrine emergency police powers.
“A planned attack targeting representatives of state forces in the Orleans region was foiled last week by the DGSI (France’s internal intelligence agency),” Cazeneuve said.
Two French citizens aged 20 and 24 were arrested on December 19, he said. The older has a police record for petty crime.
A police source said one was originally from Morocco and the other from Togo.
They were “in contact with a French radical in Syria and the investigation ought to establish if he ordered the attacks that one of the two arrested men has admitted they were planning to carry out against soldiers, police and representatives of the state,” Cazeneuve said.
“These arrests are the result of meticulous work by our intelligence services and bring the number of attacks foiled on the national territory since 2013 to 10,” he added.
He also said that 3,414 people had been turned away from France’s borders since a state of emergency was introduced in the wake of last month’s Paris attacks, which left 130 people dead.


UK’s official Brexit campaign fined, referred to police

Updated 17 July 2018
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UK’s official Brexit campaign fined, referred to police

  • The report found that the Vote Leave campaign exceeded its legal spending limit of £7.0 million ( $9.3 million) by almost £500,000
  • Vote Leave returned an incomplete and inaccurate spending report

LONDON: Britain’s official Brexit campaign, Vote Leave, has been fined for breaking spending rules in the 2016 EU membership referendum, the Electoral Commission said Tuesday, adding that it had referred the case to the police.
The Electoral Commission said the winning side in the referendum had worked together with a smaller pro-Brexit group called BeLeave to get around campaign finance rules.
“We found substantial evidence that the two groups worked to a common plan, did not declare their joint working and did not adhere to the legal spending limits,” said Bob Posner, the commission’s director of political finance and regulation.
“These are serious breaches of the laws put in place by parliament to ensure fairness and transparency at elections and referendums,” Posner said.
A Vote Leave spokesman accused the Electoral Commission of being “motivated by a political agenda rather than uncovering the facts.”
The spokesman said there were “a number of false accusations and incorrect assertions that are wholly inaccurate and do not stand up to scrutiny.”
The report found that the Vote Leave campaign exceeded its legal spending limit of £7.0 million (7.9 million euros, $9.3 million) by almost £500,000.
Vote Leave, which had support from leading euroskeptic Boris Johnson, also returned an incomplete and inaccurate spending report and failed to submit some invoices for its spending.
The report said the BeLeave group, which was founded by fashion student Darren Grimes, spent more than £675,000 with Aggregate IQ, a Canadian digital political advertising company, under a “common plan” with Vote Leave.
The company was mentioned in the scandal over Cambridge Analytica, a now defunct British company accused of misusing data obtained from Facebook to micro-target political ads.
Christopher Wylie, a Cambridge Analytica whistleblower, alleged that pro-Brexit groups worked together to get around campaign finance rules by using the services of Aggregate IQ.
Wylie said that Aggregate IQ was linked to Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL), the parent company of Cambridge Analytica.
The Electoral Commission said it had referred the case to police.
“Investigation files have been shared with the Metropolitan Police in relation to whether any persons have committed related offenses which lie outside our regulatory remit,” the report said.
Vote Leave was fined £61,000 and Grimes was fined £20,000, the maximum levy for an individual.
But the Vote Leave spokesman said it had provided evidence to the Electoral Commission “proving there was no wrongdoing.”
“And yet, despite clear evidence of wrongdoing by the Remain campaign, the commission has chosen to ignore this and refused to launch an investigation.”
“We will consider the options available to us, but are confident that these findings will be overturned,” he said.