Go away.EU ‘downplayed Russian hyperlinks’ – BBC News (News)

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Arron BanksPicture copyright
PA

Picture caption

Arron Banks is a former UKIP donor and pal of Nigel Farage

The founding father of Go away.EU, Arran Banks, has confirmed he’ll seem earlier than MPs this week to reply new allegations about his hyperlinks with Russia.

Its been reported that Mr Banks, who bankrolled the unofficial go away marketing campaign, had extra contact with Russian officers than he beforehand admitted.

The allegations elevate new issues over whether or not the Kremlin sought to affect the result of the EU referendum vote.

Mr Banks has prompt he’s the sufferer of “a political witch-hunt”.

The millionaire Brexit backer dismissed the claims, telling the Sunday Occasions: “I had two boozy lunches with the Russian ambassador and one other cup of tea with him. Chew me.

“It is a handy political witch-hunt, each over Brexit and Trump.”

Damian Collins, chairman of the Commons Digital, Tradition, Media and Sport Choose Committee, has stated he’ll query Mr Banks in regards to the allegations, citing the newspaper’s “proof of very shut contact” with Russia through the referendum marketing campaign.

The Sunday Occasions experiences that Mr Banks had three conferences with the Russian ambassador to the UK. In his ebook, The Unhealthy Boys of Brexit, Mr Banks had beforehand admitted to just one.

The paper stated that Mr Banks and Go away.EU chief govt Andy Wigmore had additionally had lunch with the ambassador in November 2016 – simply three days after they and the previous UKIP chief Nigel Farage had met Donald Trump in New York following his election victory.

Mr Banks and Mr Wigmore additionally mentioned potential enterprise alternatives in Russia, emails reportedly present, together with a proposal involving six goldmines.

‘Shamelessly used’

The size of the pair’s hyperlinks to Russia is revealed in a sequence of 40,000 emails obtained by the previous Sunday Occasions journalist Isabel Oakeshott, who ghost-wrote Mr Banks’s Unhealthy Boys of Brexit ebook.

Ms Oakeshott handed them to the paper after her e mail accounts have been “hacked”.

She prompt Mr Banks and Mr Wigmore have been “shamelessly utilized by the Russians”.

Mr Banks, who beforehand pulled out of a Commons inquiry into “faux News”, stated he would now be giving proof, as deliberate, on Tuesday.

“We did not revenue from any enterprise offers as a result of I by no means pursued something,” he stated.

In the meantime, Mr Wigmore denied handing over any Brexit-related data.

“We by no means supplied any data to… any Russian any particulars of our marketing campaign,” he advised the Sunday Occasions.

In a tweet, Mr Wigmore went on to counsel the emails had been illegally obtained.

When requested in regards to the claims throughout a press convention on the G7 summit in Quebec, Prime Minister Theresa Could stated: “I’m positive that if there are any allegations that want investigation the right authorities will do this.”

The Russian embassy has stated it has not intervened in UK home politics.

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