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UK investigates biggest Brexit funder Arron Banks

UK officials have launched a criminal investigation into a prominent backer of the campaign for Britain to leave the European Union. Aaron Banks has been accused of siphoning Russian cash into the election effort. Britain's National Crime Agency on Thursday said it had launched a criminal investigation into the pro-Brexit millionaire Arron Banks over cash used to promote Britain's exit from the European Union. The UK Electoral Commission said it suspected that Banks "was not the true source" of money loaned to the Leave campaign, and that he had tried to conceal its real origins. The commission said it had investigated financial transactions which appeared to come from companies registered in Gibraltar and the Isle of Man. Since 2000, UK laws have effectively forbidden overseas or foreign donations to registered political campaigners. "Our investigation has unveiled evidence that suggests criminal offenses have been committed which fall beyond the remit of the commission," said the commission's director of political finance, Bob Posner. "This is why we have handed our evidence to the NCA to allow them to investigate and take any appropriate law-enforcement action." Banks, on tax haven Bermuda when the news emerged, said he welcomed the inquiry and that it would be a chance for him to clear his name. "I am confident that a full and frank investigation will finally put an end to the ludicrous allegations leveled against me and my colleagues," Banks said in a statement issued by Leave.EU. "I am a UK taxpayer and I have never received any foreign donations." Meetings at Russian embassy The Electoral Commission also said another prominent Leave campaigner, Elizabeth Bilney, was being investigated. The probe into Banks follows the revelation that he held a series of secret meetings with senior Russian embassy officials in London around the time of the referendum. Embassy staff were reported to have presented Banks with a lucrative investment opportunity in a Russian gold company, although the deal never went ahead. Banks — who is said to have been the single biggest donor for the Leave.EU campaign — has previously faced questions in the UK parliament about the source of his wealth. The commission said it had reasonable grounds to suspect that Banks was not the real source of loans that were made to a company called Better for the Country Limited, of which Banks was a director. 'Ludicrous allegations' The commission also said it had passed evidence to the National Crime Agency (NCA), to investigate offenses that went beyond the breaking of electoral law. When asked to comment on allegations of possible Russian influence on the vote, a spokeswoman for British Prime Minister Theresa May said there was "no evidence to suggest that is the case." Russia has denied backing the pro-Brexit effort in an effort to weaken and divide the European Union. In the referendum of June 2016, 51.9 percent of those who voted backed leaving the EU while 48.1 percent voted to remain.

UK officials have launched a criminal investigation into a prominent backer of the campaign for Britain to leave the European Union. Aaron Banks has been accused of siphoning Russian cash into the election effort. Britain’s National Crime Agency on Thursday said it had launched a criminal investigation into the pro-Brexit millionaire Arron Banks over cash used to promote Britain’s exit ... Read More »

Pittsburgh synagogue shooting suspect pleads not guilty

Appearing in court for the second time this week, Robert Bowers pleaded not guilty to 44 counts against him. He's accused of killing 11 worshippers at the weekend. Robert Bowers, the man charged withopening fire in a Pittsburgh synagogue and killing 11 worshiperspleaded not guilty on Thursday in federal court to all 44 counts against him. The counts include hate crimes as well as firearms offenses. Bowers, an avowed anti-Semite, appeared defiant in court. He spoke little, and only said that he understood the charges against him, and that some of them could result in the death penalty. He followed by entering a plea of "not guilty." The grand jury voted to indict Bowers on 44 counts, according to a filing in federal court in Pittsburgh. They include 11 counts of "obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death" (a federal charge akin to murder that can carry the death penalty), and various charges related to his use of a gun in an act of anti-religious violence. Bowers was injured during a shootout with police after he opened fire at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood on Saturday. It is believed to be the worst anti-Semitic attack in US history. More funerals after Trump's contentious visit Three more victims' funerals were expected later in the day in Pittsburgh — for Sylvan Simon, 86, his wife, Bernice, 84, and for Richard Gottfried, 65. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump made a politically tricky visit to Pittsburgh, accompanied by his wife Melania, Orthodox Jewish son-in-law Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka. Their arrival coincided with the first victims' funerals. Opponents and noisy groups of local protesters said, however, that he shouldn't even have gone to Pittsburgh. Starkly illustrating the controversy, there wasn't anyone available, beyond the local air force base commander and his wife, to meet the president on arrival from Washington.

Appearing in court for the second time this week, Robert Bowers pleaded not guilty to 44 counts against him. He’s accused of killing 11 worshippers at the weekend. Robert Bowers, the man charged withopening fire in a Pittsburgh synagogue and killing 11 worshiperspleaded not guilty on Thursday in federal court to all 44 counts against him. The counts include hate ... Read More »

Indonesian divers locate crashed Lion Air black box

After days of searching, divers have recovered a flight recorder from a Lion Air jet that crashed in Indonesia this week. Investigators hope the device will reveal why the Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane plunged into the sea. Teams of divers in Indonesia found one of two flight recorders from Lion Air flight JT610, which went down with 189 people on board earlier this week, an official confirmed on Thursday. Authorities said the flight data recorder was recovered and that teams are still searching for the cockpit voice recorder. Both could contain key information that will help determine why the nearly brand-new plane crashed into the Java Sea just 13 minutes after takeoff. The latest developments: • Footage broadcast on Indonesian television showed two divers surfacing with a bright orange device that was transferred to a search and rescue ship. • One of the divers, identified as navy 1st Sgt. Hendra, told local TV that he was able to locate the device despite strong currents. "I started digging and cleaning the debris until I finally found an orange object," he said. • Indonesian officials confirmed that the flight data recorder was recovered and that the cockpit recorder is still missing. • Both devices record information about the direction, altitude and speed of the plane as well as flight crew conversations. • Teams are still looking for the main body of the jet, hoping that it will contain both the missing black box as well as more victims from the crash. • The find came as the first victim to be identified from the crash was buried. • Tragic crash: The Lion Air passenger plane crashed on Monday just 13 minutes after taking off from the Indonesia capital, Jakarta, with 189 people on board. The crash was Indonesia's worst airline disaster in two decades and sparked a massive search in the Java Sea. Data from flight-tracking sites show that the plane experienced erratic changes in its altitude and speed before it lost contact. Experts warn, however, that the data needs to be checked with the information in the black boxes to determine the cause. • Concerns over safety: The crash has raised questions about airline safety not only in Indonesia but also about the Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane. The jet had only been in service for around two months when the crash occurred, with Lion Air stating that both the pilot and co-pilot were highly experienced. However, the budget airline admitted that the new Boeing 737-MAX 8 experienced an unspecified technical issue on its previous flight from the island of Bali last Sunday. • What happens next: The data from the black box will need to be examined, with a preliminary report on the crash expected to be released within a month. A complete report may take months to complete. Meanwhile, search and rescue teams are continuing to look for the second flight recorder as well as the fuselage, or main body of the plane.

After days of searching, divers have recovered a flight recorder from a Lion Air jet that crashed in Indonesia this week. Investigators hope the device will reveal why the Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane plunged into the sea. Teams of divers in Indonesia found one of two flight recorders from Lion Air flight JT610, which went down with 189 people ... Read More »

Google employees stage global walkout for women’s rights

More than 1,000 workers around the world walked away from their desks to protest the company's handling of sexual misconduct and equality issues. They also called for equal pay and an end to forced arbitration. At least 1,000 Google workers walked out of offices across the world on Thursday in protest of how the company handles sexual harassment. Employees in the Tokyo, Singapore, Berlin, London, Dublin and New York offices have already taken part, with California expected to follow suit. Google is facing an internal backlash after the New York Times (NYT) reported last week that Android software creator Andy Rubin was paid a $90 million (€79 million) severance package in 2014 after being accused of sexual misconduct. Both Google and Rubin have refuted this claim. The tech giant told the NYT that it had fired 48 people for sexual harassment since 2016, and none of them had been given an exit package. Google chief executive Sundar Pichai issued an apology on Tuesday, e-mailing employees that he was "deeply sorry for the past actions and the pain they have caused employees." The next day, Google's parent company Alphabet confirmed that Richard DeVaul, an executive accused of sexual harassment, had been fired without severance. Employees demand equal pay, end to arbitration But employees were not placated, and issued a list of demands during the Thursday walkout. They are asking Google for a concrete commitment to ending pay inequality, a clearer process for reporting sexual misconduct, and an end to forced arbitration in cases of harassment or discrimination, a standard practice across many industries designed to force such disputes to be settled privately through a binding arbitration process, rather than in courts. Hundreds of Google employees in New York staged a rally in a park near the company's offices: Some employees have also accused Google of claiming to be a champion of diversity and equality, while failing to take any concrete steps towards comprehensive inclusion.

More than 1,000 workers around the world walked away from their desks to protest the company’s handling of sexual misconduct and equality issues. They also called for equal pay and an end to forced arbitration. At least 1,000 Google workers walked out of offices across the world on Thursday in protest of how the company handles sexual harassment. Employees in ... Read More »

UK budget includes tax on tech giants Amazon and Google

Tthe UK's finance minister has unveiled a new "digital services tax" targeting tech giants such as Google and Facebook. The minister also promised an end to public sector spending cuts. UK Finance Minister Philip Hammond's last pre-Brexit budget on Monday unveiled a new "digital services tax" targeting tech giants. The new tax, which will come into force in 2020, targets tech giants with revenues of more than 500 million pounds (€575 million, $610 million) and is expected to raise 400 million pounds in revenue. The proposals are designed to target tech giants such as Google and Facebook, which have been criticized for their tax arrangements in the UK. "It is only right that these global giants with profitable businesses in the UK pay their fair share," Hammond said. "It's clearly not sustainable, or fair, that digital platform businesses can generate substantial value in the UK without paying tax here in respect of that business," he said. In line with EU plans Brussels proposed earlier this year that big tech companies should be taxed on overall revenue in the EU and not just on their profits, at a rate of around 3 percent. The new EU tax plan would target companies with global annual turnover above €750 million, such as Google, Twitter, Facebook, Airbnb and Uber. Under current EU law, firms can choose to book their income in any member state of the bloc, prompting them to pick low-tax nations such as Ireland, the Netherlands or Luxembourg. Hammond backs May's Brexit plan In his budget address, Hammond promised to end austerity, increase spending on the National Health Service (NHS) and cut income taxes. But he also made clear that higher spending was contingent on London getting a Brexit agreement with Brussels. Some have interpreted the budget as a political nudge in the direction of those in his own party that do not support the Prime Minister Theresa May's plan to leave the EU to get behind their beleaguered leader. Hammond had been rebuked by the Prime Minister's office earlier on Monday after he had said spending plans in the budget would depend on an eventual Brexit deal. Theresa May's spokesperson said that spending commitments are "funded irrespective of a deal." Hammond also floated the idea of a regular Spring Statement, seen by some as a contingency plan for an emergency budget in the event of there being no Brexit deal. "The era of austerity is finally coming to an end...the perseverance of the British people is finally paying off." Conservative and Conservative-led governments since 2010 have succeeded in bringing the public sector deficit down from 8.8 percent of GDP to 2 percent, according to the Office for National Statistics (OBS). The budget deficit The budget deficit is set to stand at 1.2 percent of GDP in the current financial year, down from a forecast in March of 1.8 percent, Hammond said, adding that this would cut the UK's borrowing requirements between now and the mid-2020s. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) said on Monday the government had already spent its 'fiscal windfall' and the medium-term outlook for government borrowing was little changed from March. Hammond announced an extra 20.5 billion pounds in funding for the NHS over the next 5 years. Other beneficiaries include the Ministry of Defense. The government would meet its election promise to raise the personal tax allowance to 12,500 pounds (it is currently 11,850 pounds) and raise the minimum wage by 4.9 percent from 7.83 pounds to 8.21 pounds, the minister said. He also pledged to hike taxes on offshore gambling companies and introduce a tax on the manufacture and import of some plastic packaging.

Tthe UK’s finance minister has unveiled a new “digital services tax” targeting tech giants such as Google and Facebook. The minister also promised an end to public sector spending cuts. UK Finance Minister Philip Hammond’s last pre-Brexit budget on Monday unveiled a new “digital services tax” targeting tech giants. The new tax, which will come into force in 2020, targets ... Read More »

Italy: Several dead after extreme winds, heavy rain, tornados

Severe winds and heavy rainfall have caused chaos in several parts of the country. In Venice, flooding caused the city officials to evacuate the historic St Mark Square. At least seven people have died in Italy after strong winds and heavy rain hit much of the country and caused severe flooding in Venice. Two people were killed in Terracina 100 kilometers (62 miles) southeast of Rome after a tornado swept through the town and caused a tree to fall on their car, according to state broadcaster RAI. Three people were also killed by falling trees near Rome and another died in Naples after strong winds hit the area. In Savona, an elderly woman died after a tornado lashed the northwestern province. Venice under water In Venice, flooding caused the water level to hit 156 centimeters (61 inches), a 10-year high, and an evacuation of the city's famous St Mark's Square. The water level has only reached above 150 centimeters five times since records began, most famously in 1966, when it hit 194 centimeters and devastated the historic city center. The extreme weather, which began on Sunday, has caused widespread disruption throughout the country. Authorities temporarily suspended rail and car traffic near the Brenner Pass, the Alpine route linking Italy to Austria, after a landslide made some parts of the motorway impassable. Some 160,000 households were left without electricity in Belluno and Treviso provinces, according to the regional newspaper Il Gazzettino.

Severe winds and heavy rainfall have caused chaos in several parts of the country. In Venice, flooding caused the city officials to evacuate the historic St Mark Square. At least seven people have died in Italy after strong winds and heavy rain hit much of the country and caused severe flooding in Venice. Two people were killed in Terracina 100 ... Read More »

Trump heralds Bolsonaro victory in Brazil

Right-wing president-elect Jair Bolsonaro said he would aim to unite a divided country. US President Donald Trump was one of the first to congratulate the new leader. Jair Bolsonaro's victory in the second round of presidential election voting on Sunday has moved Brazil sharply to the right after four elections won by the left-leaning Workers' Party. Bolsonaro won 55 percent of the votes, with about 45 percent for Workers' Party (PT) candidate Fernando Haddad. US President Donald Trump called Bolsonaro on Sunday and said he had had "a very good conversation" with Brazil's president-elect. "We agreed that Brazil and the United States will work closely together on Trade, Military and everything else!," Trump tweeted on Monday. "Excellent call, wished him congrats!" Trump spoke of "a strong commitment to work side-by-side" on issues affecting Brazil, the US and beyond, the White House said. Like Trump, Bolsonaro has suggested he might pull Brazil out of the Paris agreement on climate change and has promised to cut environmental regulations. Bolsonaro said immediately after his victory was announced on Sunday night he would try to "pacify" Brazil after a heated election campaign. "This country belongs to all of us, Brazilians by birth or by heart, a Brazil of diverse opinions, colors and orientations," he said in a live television address. He has promised to crack down on violent crime and has been a frequent critic of womens' rights, gay rights and black rights, advocated torture and killings by police. He also said he would name military men to his Cabinet. The election was fought in a febrile and often violent atmosphere, with Brazilians bombarded by WhatsApp messages from Bolsonaro's camp attacking Haddad. Bolonaro was stabbed and almost died while campaigning in September. Muted and less-muted foreign reactions The German government said in a statement on Monday that it hoped to maintain a bilateral relationship with Brazil "on the basis of our joint values." Spokesman Steffen Seibert said "it remains to be seen what the policies of the newly elected president will look like." French President Emmanuel Macron meanwhile congratulated Bolsonaro on being "elected by the Brazilian people to the presidency," also highlighting the "common values" of the "promotion of democratic principles." The leader of Italy's right-wing League, Matteo Salvini, welcomed the victory of Bolsonaro with a message on Twitter: "Brazil and its citizens have sent the left home," he wrote. "The friendship between our people and our governments will be even stronger," he wrote. Economic policy the key Bolsonaro's future chief of staff Onyx Lorenzoni said the new administration would focus on economic priorities and give "business more autonomy." The new president's first foreign visits will be to Chile, followed by the US and Israel. Bolsonaro has brought multimillionaire investment banker Paulo Guedes on board as his economic adviser. The 69-year-old Guedes is to become "super minister" for economics. Brazil has one of the largest budget deficits in the world, at just under 8 percent of GDP in 2017, with national debt amounting to roughly 80 percent of GDP. Opposition defiant Haddad said he would mount a "vigorous opposition" after congratulating Bolsonaro via Twitter on Monday. "President Jair Bolsonaro. I wish you success. Our country deserves the best. I write this message today with a light heart, with sincerity, so that it brings the best out in us all. Good luck!" he wrote. Haddad said his party would fight on but would respect the country's institutions. "We have the responsibility to mount an opposition, putting national interests, the interests of the entire Brazilian people, above everything," Haddad said in a speech to supporters on Monday. "Brazil has possibly never needed the exercise of citizenship more than right now." Haddad was selected by the PT to run for the presidency in place of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, an ex-president jailed on corruption charges in April and excluded from the race. The hashtag EleNaoEMeuPresidente ("HeIsNotMyPresident" in Portuguese) was a top trending topic on Twitter in Brazil on Monday morning. International civil rights groups have also expressed concern about Bolsonaro's apparent autocratic tendencies. Human Rights Watch, for example, called on Brazil's judiciary and other institutions to "resist any attempt to undermine human rights, the rule of law and democracy under Jair Bolsonaro's government." Steve Schwartzman of the Environmental Defense Fund warned that Bolsonaro's promises about the environment would be "dangerous to the planet." Domestic support The judge who oversaw many cases in a recent corruption investigation wished Bolsonaro well. "It is important to enact, with dialogue and tolerance, reforms to improve the economy and the integrity of the public administration, as well as restoring the population's confidence in the political class," Judge Sergio Moro wrote in a statement. Many Brazilians were angry with the Workers' Party for its alleged role in a major corruption scandal, known as "Operation Car Wash."

Right-wing president-elect Jair Bolsonaro said he would aim to unite a divided country. US President Donald Trump was one of the first to congratulate the new leader. Jair Bolsonaro’s victory in the second round of presidential election voting on Sunday has moved Brazil sharply to the right after four elections won by the left-leaning Workers’ Party. Bolsonaro won 55 percent ... Read More »

Air pollution linked to half million premature deaths in Europe

Air quality in Europe has nonetheless improved in recent years due to better regulations and technology. Environmental officials said the results indicate its time to double down on cutting air pollution. Air quality across Europe has improved but remains an "invisible killer" that causes nearly a half million premature deaths each year, the European Environment Agency said in an annual reportreleased Monday. Air pollution continues to remain above EU and World Health Organization (WHO) limits in large parts of Europe, the data collected in 2016 from 2,500 measuring stations showed. About 422,000 premature deaths in 41 European countries were caused by tiny particulate matter known as PM2.5 in 2015, of which 391,000 were in the 28-member EU, the report said. "Air pollution is an invisible killer and we need to step up our efforts to address the causes. In terms of air pollution, road transport emissions are often more harmful than those from other sources, as these happen at ground level and tend to occur in cities, close to people," said EEA chief Hans Bruyninckx. At the same time, stricter air quality standards and technological improvements across Europe have resulted in the number of premature deaths per year due to PM2.5 being slashed by a half a million since 1990. "It shows us that air policy does work, but it also reminds us that we need to make it work even better to achieve clean air across Europe, for all citizens," said EU Commissioner for Environment Karmenu Vella Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution from vehicles was tied to another 79,000 premature deaths across 41 European countries in 2015. Ground level ozone (O3) was responsible for another 16,400 premature deaths. Short and long-term exposure to air pollution has been linked to heart disease, stroke, cancer and respiratory problems. Maternal exposure to air pollution is associated with negative impacts on fertility, pregnancy, newborns and children. Air pollution can also have adverse impact on ecosystems. European governments and automakers are under pressure to take action to improve air quality, with a number of states and cities moving to phase out or ban combustible vehicles and diesel. The release of the EEA report came the same day as UN heath agency said in a separate study that globally an estimated 600,000 children under the age of 15 die every year from respiratory problems associated with air pollution. A stunning 93 percent of children, or 1.8 billion, are exposed to PM2.5 levels above WHO air quality guidelines, the report said. Children in low- and middle-income countries are particularly impacted by indoor and outdoor air pollution, the report said.

Air quality in Europe has nonetheless improved in recent years due to better regulations and technology. Environmental officials said the results indicate its time to double down on cutting air pollution. Air quality across Europe has improved but remains an “invisible killer” that causes nearly a half million premature deaths each year, the European Environment Agency said in an annual ... Read More »

Investigators say Pittsburgh synagogue shooter was a lone wolf

The FBI says it is treating the fatal shooting of 11 people during a baby-naming ceremony as a hate crime. Pittsburgh's mayor said it was the darkest day of the city's history, and he called for gun law reform. The man who stormed a synagogue in the US city of Pittsburgh killing 11 people made extreme anti-Semitic statements before launching his mass shooting, officials said on Sunday. "During the course of his deadly assault on the people of the synagogue, [Robert] Bowers made statements regarding genocide and his desire to kill Jewish people," Scott Brady, US Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, told a news conference. The names of the victims were given on Sunday. The youngest was 54 years of age, and the oldest 97: "Joyce Fienberg, 75; Richard Gottfried, 65; Rose Mallinger, 97; Jerry Rabinowitz, 66; Cecil Rosenthal, 59; David Rosenthal, 54; Bernice Simon, 84; Sylvan Simon, 86; Daniel Stein, 71; Melvin Wax, 88; Irving Younger, 69." Probe at early stage Investigators said they didn't know why Bowers had specifically targeted The Tree of Life synagogue in a mainly Jewish area of Pittsburgh, adding that they have no evidence to believe he had accomplices. Earlier, in their arrest affidavit, police said Bowers told officers that Jews were "committing genocide to his people" and he wanted them all to die. Allegheny County medical examiner Karl Williams said that many shots were fired during the assault and that forensics teams had found gun casings everywhere. Investigators said six people were injured, including four police officers. The victims were found in three different locations within the synagogue. Bowers was injured and arrested shortly after his attack, when he was shot by members of a tactical police unit. He is being treated in hospital for gunshot wounds. The 48-year-old has been charged with murder, is facing 29 criminal counts, and could face the death penalty. The suspect is to make an initial court appearance on Monday, Brady said. Victims included the elderly Officials released the names of the victims, describing them as middle-aged or elderly worshippers. The victims included two brothers and a husband and wife. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto called the shooting the "darkest day of Pittsburgh's history," and demanded an urgent reform of US gun laws. "I think the approach that we need to be looking at is how we take the guns, which is the common denominator of every mass shooting in America, out of the hands of those that are looking to express hatred through murder," he told reporters. Saturday's shooting followed a spate of pipe bombs mailed in recent days to prominent political figures, mostly Democrats, including former US President Barack Obama, ahead of November 6 congressional elections. Trump called the shooting an act of pure evil and called on Americans to rise above hatred. Merkel decries attack German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman quoted her on Twitter as saying: "I am mourning the people who died in Pittsburgh, who obviously fell victim to blind anti-Semitic hatred." "I offer my condolences to the families and wish those injured strength and recovery. Everyone, everywhere must oppose anti-Semitism with resolve," Merkel added. Pope Francis led prayers for Pittsburgh on Sunday in St Peter's Square, telling his followers that "all of us are wounded by this inhuman act of violence."

The FBI says it is treating the fatal shooting of 11 people during a baby-naming ceremony as a hate crime. Pittsburgh’s mayor said it was the darkest day of the city’s history, and he called for gun law reform. The man who stormed a synagogue in the US city of Pittsburgh killing 11 people made extreme anti-Semitic statements before launching ... Read More »

Helicopter crashes near Leicester City’s Stadium, chairman Srivaddhanaprabha killed

A helicopter belonging to Leicester City's owner crashed in the stadium grounds of the British football club. The club has confirmed that all five aboard, including chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, have perished. Fans and members of the public laid bouquets outside Leicester City's stadium the morning after a helicopter belonging to the football club's Thai owner, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, crashed in the stadium grounds. Later on Sunday, the club confirmed that all five people who had been on board the aircraft had died, including Srivaddhanaprabha. Srivaddhanaprabha,61, was known to fans as a smiling, benevolent man who gave away free beers and hot dogs on his birthday and brought the club its fairytale English Premier League title in 2016. He was also famous for arriving and leaving the stadium in his helicopter at home games. "It is with the deepest regret and a collective broken heart that we confirm our chairman, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, was among those to have tragically lost their lives on Saturday evening when a helicopter carrying him and four other people crashed outside King Power stadium," the club said in a statement, without naming the other four victims. Eye witnesses reported seeing the helicopter plummet to the grounds shortly after a Premier League game between Leicester and West Ham on Saturday night. Footage depicting the crash site showed large flames engulfing the machine. Football community shocked A number of clubs and prominent football figures have expressed their condolences over the incident. Gary Lineker, a former English footballer and sports analyst, called the crash "a terrible tragedy." "That was the most difficult @BBCMOTD I've ever hosted. Thoughts are with everyone at Leicester City. A terrible tragedy. Heartbreaking," Lineker wrote on Twitter. Italian club Juventus' Argentine striker Paula Dybala also dubbed the crash "a sad day for football" in a tweet. Leicester's Cinderella story Vichai, who was chairman of the Thai travel retail group King Power International, became the owner of the football club in 2010 and provided it with badly needed investment. Leicester went on to win the English Premier League title in 2016. The victory was a shock to global football. The odds of the team winning the championship had been 5000 to 1 at the beginning of the season. The 61-year-old Thai tycoon was known for his warmth and was frequently seen at the stadium handing out free beer and doughnuts. But he had been guarded about his private life, granting only a few interviews and deferring many public appearances to his son Aiyawatt.

A helicopter belonging to Leicester City’s owner crashed in the stadium grounds of the British football club. The club has confirmed that all five aboard, including chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, have perished. Fans and members of the public laid bouquets outside Leicester City’s stadium the morning after a helicopter belonging to the football club’s Thai owner, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, crashed in the ... Read More »

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