Leave campaigners Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore deny Russian Federation links

Lester Mason
June 12, 2018

Since Britain voted to leave the EU in June 2016, questions have been raised about the unofficial campaign of Leave.EU and its chief backer Mr Banks, as well as the possible influence of Russian Federation on the referendum result. Banks said any claims that he had taken money from Moscow were "part of a fake news narrative".

Mr Banks described how he met the Russian ambassador Alexander Yakovenko for a "boozy lunch" in 2015, after being approached by a Russian "observer" at UKIP's party conference that year.

The reports emails existed showing Banks discussed a potential business deal involving six Russian gold mines with ambassador Alexander Yakovenko after being introduced to him by a suspected Russian spy.

The two will appear before the Commons culture and media committee on Tuesday to answer questions about alleged Russian involvement in the European Union referendum campaign, having initially pulled out of a hearing on Friday.

On Sunday, it emerged that Banks had two more meetings with Yakovenko than he had previously admitted in the book he penned on the referendum battle, 'The Bad Boys of Brexit.' The final meeting with the Russian ambassador was in November 2016, three days after Banks, Leave.EU's Communications Director Andy Wigmore, and ex-UKIP leader Nigel Farage met Trump in NY after he had been elected president. Banks met with Moscow's United Kingdom ambassador three times, but says he did not take Russian money.

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 also said there was "not one penny or one rouble" of Russian money given to Leave.EU. "There is no evidence".

Mr Banks agreed to give evidence to the committee after previously pulling out as he accused MPs of conducting a "witch hunt". There hadn't been a Russian witch-hunt (before).

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

"The ambassador was probably in a worse state than we were".

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.

Arron Banks, a British businessman who bankrolled one of the main campaigns for Brexit, said that whistleblowers who had made allegations against his Leave.EU campaign were not credible witnesses.

Mr Banks and Mr Wigmore are set to be questioned over their ties to the Kremlin and the country's influential business leaders today.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

Discuss This Article