Monday, 17 December, 2018

Government is 'very seriously' examining Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore’s Russian Federation links

Brexit news Nigel Farage Arron Banks LBCMr Banks claimed allegations of collusion with Russia were'ludicrous
Jeannette Daniel | 12 June, 2018, 14:47

It follows newspaper allegations of undisclosed meetings, set up by a suspected Russian spy, and discussions of a potential business deal involving six Russian gold mines before and after the 2016 referendum. Banks said any claims that he had taken money from Moscow were "part of a fake news narrative".

In total, Mr Banks said he had two lunches with the Russian ambassador and one cup of tea where he was introduced to a businessman with the gold mines proposal.

Mr Banks, who donated £12m to Nigel Farage's campaign to leave the European Union, has repeatedly denied any involvement with Russia, or that Russian money played any part in the Brexit campaign.

MPs on the digital, culture, media and sport select committee will be questioning the men in a meeting that is scheduled to go on for at least three hours.

Speaking to his friend and former UKIP leader Nigel Farage on LBC Radio, Mr Banks said: "What's the crime?"

Mr Banks claims to have talked with a senior Central Intelligence Agency agent in London on his contacts with the Russian ambassador at 5 Hertford Street, a Mayfair club.

'He said he only met the Russian ambassador on one occasion; we now know it was more than that.

The paper also said the men had kept the agent's business card and are going through their emails to find evidence of their correspondence and meeting.

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Mr Banks, whose wife is Russian, said opponents of Brexit and Mr Trump had seized on claims of Russian interference as an explanation for their defeats, suggesting several MPs had used the ancient right of parliamentary privilege to accuse Leave.EU in the House of Commons.

"It was only when Trump won that there had to be a reason why he had won and Brexit happened".

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has said the government is "very seriously" examining Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore's links to Russian Federation as the Brexit-backing pair face quizzing from MPs today.

Mr Wigmore said it was Mr Yakovenko's job to stay in touch with British politicians and claimed that only two days before their last meeting with him, the Russian ambassador had met Chancellor Philip Hammond.

Leave.EU was fined £70,000 by the Electoral Commission earlier this year for breaches of election law in the Brexit referendum.

Leave.EU were not the officially Brexit campaign, having lost out in a battle with the Boris Johnson-backed Vote Leave for designation.

Mr Banks emphatically replied: "Absolutely not".

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