MPs to question leading Brexiteer Arron Banks over Russian Federation links

The businessman sat alongside Leave.EU communications chief Andy Wigmore as they joined Nigel Farage for an exclusive LBC interview.

A top Leave funder has hit out at a "concerted campaign" to "smear" Brexiteers as he prepares to faces MPs questions over his links to the Kremlin.

Arron Banks has insisted there is "no evidence" his pro-Brexit campaign Leave.EU took any Russian money.

The Sunday Times published an explosive investigation last week in which it alleged that Mr Banks and other key Leave.EU figures met with Russian officials multiple times in the run-up to the Brexit referendum.

According to details of emails reported by the Sunday Times and The Observer, Banks and Wigmore also discussed potential business opportunities in Russian Federation.

Speaking to his friend and former UKIP leader Nigel Farage on LBC Radio, Mr Banks said: "What's the crime?"

Referring to the London ambassador Alexander Yakovenko, he said: "I've met him and his people in the diplomatic community many times - that's what you do". We were pretty trolleyed.

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Mr Banks agreed to give evidence to the committee after previously pulling out as he accused MPs of conducting a "witch hunt".

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

Britain has said it has seen no evidence of Russian interference in the vote, but as part of a broader inquiry into "fake news", lawmakers on the media committee are investigating whether the country tried to influence public opinion before the referendum.

The head of the parliamentary inquiry into "fake news", Conservative MP Damian Collins, said the report raised serious questions about Russian interference in United Kingdom politics.

Also on Monday, Prime Minister Theresa May was asked in the House of Commons by Labour MP Ben Bradshaw whether the newspaper revelations about Mr Banks showed it is "now time for a full police inquiry into the relationship between the Kremlin and the leave campaign in the European Union referendum".

"I asked to meet them", he said.

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