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Leave.eu, the pro-Brexit lobby group, has transferred its website registration address to the European Union in a bid to avoid losing its .eu level domain. The .eu suffix is reserved for EU citizens and entities, which now excludes 80,000 British websites.
Now, Brexit critic and MEP, Guy Verhofstadt, has urged the Commission to “closely investigate” whether all the criteria has been “fulfilled”.
He tweeted: “Ironic this: Brexit campaign organisation moves to the EU to keep their registration.
“I hope @EURegistry and @EUCommission will closely investigate whether all criteria have been fulfilled!”
An Irish MP has called for an investigation into how the group was able to secure a web address.
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Neale Richmond wrote to ComReg, the Irish communications regulator, echoing Mr Verhofstadt’s demands.
His letter read: “I am deeply concerned by this move and would like to receive assurance as to whether this move is a legitimate way to retain the web domain following the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.”
He went on to tell the Guardian: “I see Leave.eu to be an odious organisation with a dubious reputation that spews bile, often directed specifically at Ireland.
“I am asking for scrutiny of their operations and qualifications.”
Leave.eu is a website funded by UKIP founder Arron Banks who campaigned for Brexit.
While not affiliated with the official Vote Leave campaign group, it was influential in the lead up to the Brexit referendum in 2016.
In a bid to avoid losing its domain name, which would affect its brand and search rankings, its parent company, Better for the Country, change its address to a town in Ireland.
According to the Irish Times, they have moved their address office to Waterford, a town on Ireland’s southwest coast.
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Andy Wigmore, who ran the group with Mr Banks, told the independent: “Yes we did it and why not?
“Anyone can do it and thousands of companies have.”
He argued the move would not include the transfer of any staff or economic activity out of the UK to the EU.
Sean Power, an Irish businesses whose name appears on the domain registration, claimed he has never heard of the company.
He said: “My lawyers are looking into this on my behalf presently and will be in touch as deemed necessary in due course.
“I have nothing to do with Leave.eu and never hard of it before yesterday.”
Rejoin the EU member and author, A C Grayling, attacked the “hypocrisy” of the move.
He tweeted: “Leave.eu moves to Ireland in order to stay in the EU.
“The looking-glass world of Brexit hypocrisy.”
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