Page last updated at 16:45 GMT, Wednesday, 14 April 2010 17:45 UK

BNP accounts to be investigated

Nick Griffin
Political parties' accounts must be published by law

The Electoral Commission is investigating the accounts of the British National Party from 2008, the standards watchdog has announced.

The commission said it began a case review into the party's accounts in January, following concerns raised by the independent auditor.

This case has now moved into its next stage, a formal investigation.

The commission says no conclusion has been reached and there should be no assumption rules have been breached.

During a case review, the commission will use information provided to determine whether there has been a breach, but will not use its formal powers of investigation or conduct interviews.

An investigation is launched when it needs to use its statutory powers to obtain information and conduct interviews.

An Electoral Commission spokeswoman said: "It is important to note - particularly during an election period - that no conclusion has been reached and therefore no assumption should be made as to whether a breach of the rules has occurred."

The investigation follows comments by the registered auditors, Silver & Co, that the financial statements submitted did not "give a true and fair view of the state of the party's affairs at December 31, 2008".

The auditors went on: "In our opinion it cannot be said that the accounts comply with the requirements of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, as adequate records have not been made available."

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