Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Brexit backer faces quiz over Russian Federation links

Brexit backer faces quiz over Russian Federation links

Arron Banks, the outspoken founder of the Leave.eu campaign, was introduced to London envoy Alexander Yakovenko by Alexander Udod, a "suspected Russian intelligence officer", the report said.

The millionaire businessman who campaigned and donated to the Brexit campaign is to appear before MPs on Tuesday to explain claims he held undisclosed meetings with Russian officials before the European Union referendum.

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

Millionaire Brexit campaigner Arron Banks also held discussions about a business deal involving six Russian goldmines, according to reports. "Was that money made used in political campaigning?"

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

Ultimately, Leave.EU lost the battle to be designated the official "leave" campaign to rival organisation Vote Leave. "Yeah, we had two lunches with the Russian ambassador and passed on a business contact".

In late may, Russian President Vladimir Putin called nonsense the assertion that Russia could intervene in adoption in the United Kingdom of the decision to withdraw this country from the European Union.

But Banks dismissed the claims, telling the paper: "I had two boozy lunches with the Russian ambassador and another cup of tea with him".

Mr Yakovenko, who was allegedly invited to Mr Banks' referendum day and results parties, is said to have proposed a business deal concerning goldmines in Russian Federation.

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

The scale of the pair's links to Russian Federation is revealed in a series of 40,000 emails obtained by the former Sunday Times journalist Isabel Oakeshott, who ghost-wrote Mr Banks's Bad Boys of Brexit book.

The paper said she came forward after she said her email accounts were hacked.

"We didn't profit from any business deals because I never pursued anything", he said.

Banks' snub comes after the communications chief of Vote Leave, which won official designation as the lead Brexit campaign group ahead of Leave.EU, also refused to appear, prompting Britain's parliament to take the rare step of ordering him to come.

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".

When asked about the claims during a press conference at the G7 summit in Quebec, Prime Minister Theresa May said: "I am sure that if there are any allegations that need investigation the proper authorities will do that".

Labour MP Stephen Kinnock told Sky News he will be sending a letter on Monday to the police urging them to launch a criminal investigation into links between Mr Banks and the Russian government.

The paper quoted Andy Wigmore, a close associate of Banks who was present at the meeting, as saying that they did not offer "any information to (the ambassador) or any Russian any details of our campaign".

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