Arron Banks held undisclosed meetings with Russian officials ahead of Brexit vote

Lester Mason
June 13, 2018

The Brexit negotiations has proven fraught with contention.

Arron Banks, a British businessman who bankrolled one of the main campaigns for Brexit, will face questions from lawmakers on Tuesday about his links with Russian Federation after a report said the connections went further and deeper than previously disclosed.

Mr Banks, who last week announced he was pulling out of the Commons inquiry into "fake news", accusing the MPs of a "witch hunt", said he would now be giving evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee as planned on Tuesday.

However on Monday Mr Banks tweeted: "I have Russian visas in my passport clearly stamped, no visit in Feb 2016".

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

Millionaire Brexiteer Arron Banks has denied visiting Russian Federation during the European Union referendum amid calls for police to investigate his Kremlin links.

The newspaper reminds that in his book The Bad Boys of Brexit, as well as in another public statement, banks said that he had only one meeting with Yakovenko, namely in September 2015.

They were also said to have met Alexander Udod, one of 23 suspected Russian intelligence officers ejected from the United Kingdom after the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury.

Mr Wigmore told the paper: "We never offered any information to him (Mr Yakovenko) or any Russian any details of our (Brexit) campaign".

E-mails said to reveal the extent of the men's contacts with Russians were unveiled by journalist Isabel Oakeshott who ghostwrote Mr Banks' referendum memoir. "So, I'd say, those who've got the evidence, let them take it to the relevant authorities and let it be looked into".

"The ambassador was obviously keen to know how our meeting (with Trump) went", Wigmore said.

The paper said it had seen emails by Banks and Leave.EU communications chief Andy Wigmore showing they had repeated contacts with Russian officials to discuss matters of mutual interest throughout the EU referendum campaign and its aftermath.

She came forward after her email accounts were hacked, according to the newspaper.

"Banks and Wigmore were shamelessly used by the Russians", Oakeshott said in the Sunday Times.

Banks dismissed the leaked emails on Sunday evening, telling the Guardian: "I am not involved in Russian espionage".

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

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.

He also told The Times that he had disclosed details of his meetings with Russian officials to the London bureau of the Central Intelligence Agency.

The Russian Embassy insists that it "has not in any way intervened in the domestic United Kingdom political process, including the Brexit referendum" and that meeting stakeholders from across a country's political spectrum is a "natural element of the work of any embassy".

Former FBI director Robert Mueller is now investigating any possible collusion between Trump's 2016 election campaign team and Russian Federation.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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