THIS BLOG WAS TWO HOURS AHEAD OF THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA ON THIS STORY!
1pm: I've just been told that later today we will hear that Michael Brown, the guy who donated £2 million to the Liberal Democrats, is facing fraud charges in the UK and an application has been made for his extradition. Brown recently expressed his disappointment with the LibDems over their apparent failure to register his donation properly with the Electoral Commission. The Times alleged that his London office was a front and no one worked there. Donations from foreign companies are not allowed. Mr Brown told The Times newspaper how unhappy he was with the party: “If the people who handled my donation were elected to run the economy, I would not be happy — it would be disastrous,” he said. He told The Times in March: “It was my intention to provide the Liberal Democrats with further support and loan finance until the party unceremoniously sacked Charles Kennedy as its leader, which did not augur well for the future nor represent a good return on my investment. I never requested or expected any peerage, privilege or honour for my support of a political party.” It is not known what the charges relate to, and whether it has anything to with his LibDem donation. I suspect not. Brown was in trouble with the US authorities some time ago. Hat-tip to Yellow Peril, who posted at 12.31 that a LibDem funding story was about to break. It just has. Read more HERE.
UPDATE 2.15pm. The LibDems have just made this comment: "The extradition has no connection to the Liberal Democrats. This is a matter for the police and the relevent authorities".
UPDATE: 2.50pm LIB DEM DONOR ARRESTED IN SPAIN By Jude Sheerin, Scottish Press Association The Liberal Democrats' biggest political donor has been arrested in Spain, it emerged today. Businessman Michael Brown, who gave £2.4 million to the party last year, was detained by Spanish police in Majorca on Wednesday, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said. A spokesman said: "He was arrested on April 19 following anextradition request and our consular official has visited him in prison in Majorca on April 20. Next-of-kin have been informed.'' The Foreign Office was unable to give further details of the extradition request. The Electoral Commission launched an investigation last year after it emerged that Brown, who was not even registered to vote in the UK, had bankrolled the Lib Dems' election campaign. But the watchdog later found it was "permissible'' for the party to have accepted the cash from the financier's Swiss-based company 5th Avenue. Then party leader Charles Kennedy ordered an internal party inquiry into the controversial donation. The Glasgow-born tax exile, who claims to be worth more than £10million, later said he gave the money because he believed in MrKennedy's ability as a future prime minister "but not the muppetswho purport to serve him''. Brown spent some of his childhood in the US, where he has reportedly been accused of failing to pay £4,000 to creditors and skipping probation in Florida. The Serious Organised Crime Agency said the 40-year-old Scot's arrest was not linked to any investigation by British police. A Liberal Democrat spokesman said: "We are not aware that this hasany connection whatsoever with the Liberal Democrats. Any further action is a matter for the police and the relevant authorities.''
4pm: Still nothing on the BBC News website. What do their reporters get paid for?!