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UK: Sunak's bodyguard arrested for election bet

UK: Sunak's bodyguard arrested for election bet
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during a visit to Sizewell in Suffolk, England, during the general election campaign, June 19, 2024   -  
Copyright © africanews
James Manning/PA

United Kingdom

One of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's bodyguards has been arrested following alleged bets on the date of Britain's national elections, made before they were announced, authorities said Wednesday.

The Metropolitan Police said an officer from the Royalty and Specialist Protection Command was arrested on Monday on suspicion of misconduct in public office.

The arrest took place after the Gambling Commission contacted police. The commission, which regulates the gaming industry, confirmed it was investigating "the possibility of violations relating to the date of the election" .

On May 22, Mr Sunak announced that the general election would be held on July 4. The date was a closely guarded secret and the announcement took many in Mr Sunak's Conservative Party by surprise. Most of them thought the elections would take place in the fall.

Betting is a popular activity in the United Kingdom , with bookmakers offering odds on everything from sport to elections to literary prize winners. It is a criminal offense to cheat by acting on inside information.

The arrested officer has been released on bail pending further investigation and has been relieved of duty while law enforcement conducts its own investigation. The officer has not been named. British police generally do not identify suspects before they are charged.

Last week, Sunak aide and parliamentary re-election candidate Craig Williams admitted he was under investigation by the Gambling Commission for placing a 100-pound ($128) bet. on the July elections before the date was announced.

Mr Williams said the regulator was carrying out "routine investigations and I confirm that I will co-operate fully with them" . “I don't want to be a distraction to the campaign, I should have thought about what this could mean ,” he said.

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