We are not Russian secret agents, Brexit campaigner Arron Banks says

Lester Mason
June 11, 2018

The founder of Leave.EU, Arron Banks, has confirmed he will appear before MPs this week to answer new allegations about his links with Russian Federation.

On links to Mr Banks and the Russians, Nigel was surprised that this wasn't more commonly known, saying: "He's married to a Russian!"

Banks has also reportedly admitted that he handed over phone numbers for members of Donald Trump's transition team to Russian officials, after meeting with the U.S. president-elect in November 2016 in NY.

Mr Collins confirmed that Mr Banks has agreed to give evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee as planned on Tuesday, having previously announced he was pulling out, accusing the MPs of conducting a "witch hunt".

Mr Banks and Mr Wigmore also discussed potential business opportunities in Russian Federation, emails reportedly show, including a proposal involving six goldmines.

These showed they had repeated contacts with Russian officials during the referendum campaign and afterwards, the newspaper said.

The head of the parliamentary inquiry into "fake news", Conservative MP Damian Collins, said the report raised serious questions about Russian interference in United Kingdom politics.

Banks said he would appear before lawmakers later in the week and that he would tell them of his contacts with officials from other countries too.

The millionaire Brexit backer dismissed the claims, telling the Sunday Times: "I had two boozy lunches with the Russian ambassador and another cup of tea with him". It does it in a variety of ways.

Damian Collins
GETTYCulture and Media Committee chairman Damian Collins

His comments come as allegations that one of the financial backers of Brexit held meetings with the Russian ambassador to Britain, raising questions about Moscow's influence on the referendum. "Yeah, we had two lunches with the Russian ambassador and passed on a business contact".

The report is based on a series of emails leaked to the Sunday Times by journalist Isabel Oakeshott, who ghost-wrote Banks' account of the European Union referendum, titled "The Bad Boys of Brexit".

Citing email correspondence, the Sunday Times said that meeting was set up by Udod and that he was one of 23 suspected Russian spies expelled by Britain following the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March.

Asked about the report at the G7 summit in Canada on Saturday, Prime Minister Theresa May said: "I am sure that if there are any allegations that need investigation the proper authorities will do that".

"It's a convenient political witch-hunt, both over Brexit and Trump".

"It wasn't just the Russians: we met all sorts of nationalities, we also briefed the State Department in Washington, we also met with the top embassy officials in London", he told Reuters.

The insurance tycoon, who came to prominence when he donated £1million to Ukip in 2014, said nothing came of the discussion about consolidating Russian gold mines into a single company.

Ms Oakeshott wrote in the newspaper that Mr Banks and Mr Wigmore were "shamelessly used by the Russians".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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