Brexit-backer Arron Banks denies fresh allegation of Russia links
British businessman Arron Banks has denied an allegation made by a former business partner that he approached Russians about investing in his diamond mines
British businessman Arron Banks has denied an allegation made by a former business partner that he approached Russians about investing in his diamond mines, and that the money raised went instead to his campaign to leave the European Union.
Banks, who ahead of the Brexit referendum financed Leave.EU, a campaign led by Nigel Farage, then the leader of the UK Independence Party, has faced questions in parliament about his Russia links but denied having business there.
He said the source of the new allegation, made on Channel 4 TV on Friday, was a "a bit of a fantasist" who was attempting to distract attention from a lawsuit that Banks had brought against him.
The court papers alleged that it had "recently become apparent that the funds were in fact raised but were used by Arron Banks in other interests that he has including, but not limited to, his participation in the funding of Brexit."
Banks said he had looked at issuing a bond for his diamond mines in South Africa but decided not to proceed with it. He said that as the events had occurred before the 2015 national election, they could not have been related to the Brexit referendum which had not yet been called.
Britain has said it has seen no evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 referendum vote to leave the European Union.
But as part of a broader inquiry into so-called fake news, lawmakers on the media committee are investigating whether Moscow tried to influence public opinion before the referendum.
Banks told the committee he had had two lunches with the Russian ambassador, but had no business interests and had done no deals in Russia.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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