04:59 GMT +326 April 2019
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    A man walks past a campaign poster ahead of a press briefing by the Leave.EU campaign group in central London on November 18, 2015

    Major Brexit Donor Reportedly Investigated Due to Alleged Russia Links

    © AFP 2019 / LEON NEAL
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    British multimillionaire Arron Banks has repeatedly denied allegations about his receiving any money from the Russian government when bankrolling the Leave.EU campaign in the UK's withdrawal from the bloc.

    Investigating British multimillionaire Arron Banks' alleged links with Russia, the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA) obtained a cache of emails belonging to Brexit's largest donor, which revealed previously undisclosed meetings between Banks and the Russian ambassador in London, The Times reported.

    "Let them investigate. All of this just makes me look like an international man of mystery," Banks has said while commenting on a possible probe.

    In the run-up to the Brexit vote, at least three business deals were on Banks' table, with one of them related to a stake in Russia's state-owned diamond mining company Alrosa, according to the emails.

    READ MORE: Brexit Campaigners 'Did Not Get Money From Russia' or Do Anything 'Sinister'

    The New York Times quoted Banks as saying that the deals were offered to him, but that he has never acted on them.

    "After the wholesale theft of my emails, there is still no smoking gun there," he noted.

    Testifying before the parliamentary Digital, Culture and Media Select Committee to clarify his alleged Russian ties in June, Banks said that he was a victim of a "political witch-hunt."

    READ MORE: John Bolton Held Secret Talks With Tory Brexit Supporters – Reports

    "I'm frankly sick and tired of this. The reason I went into the referendum was I have a different version of what the future of this country is. I respect your right to disagree with that and I know that you're all Remainers, you have a vested interest in trying to discredit the Brexit campaign," he pointed out.

    For his part, Nigel Farage, former leader of the nationalist UK Independence Party (UKIP) and one of the leaders of the Leave.EU campaign, told the BBC that there was "no evidence" that Banks had done anything wrong.

    "I find this whole world of endless accusations being made without any proof quite extraordinary," Farage said.

    Russia's ownalleged meddling in the Brexit vote came to the fore as the NCA moved to cooperate with US special counsel Robert Mueller, whose team is investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election. Moscow rejects all the allegations as unfounded.


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