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Brexit donor Arron Banks denies Russia connection

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Brexit donor Arron Banks denies Russia connection

Brexit donor Arron Banks denies Russia connection
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Jeff Overs/BBC/Handout via REUTER
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British businessman Arron Banks has insisted there was “no Russian money and no interference” in the £8 million (€9 million) loaned to his unofficial pro-Brexit campaign.

Banks, who is currently under criminal investigation over claims that he was not the "true source" of the money loaned to the Leave.EU campaign he co-founded, told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that all of the money was UK-generated.

"There was no Russian money and no interference of any type”, he said.

Banks added that the money came from his UK businesses.

“The money came from Rock Services, which was a UK limited company. It was generated out of insurance business written in the UK.”

“Contrary to some of the press reports… we turn over £250 million (€284 million) of premium, it’s a sizeable business.”

The comments came days after the National Crime Agency announced that it had launched an investigation into the true source of the money donated to Leave.EU, which was separate from the official Vote Leave campaign.

The Electoral Commission referred the case to the agency after it found “reasonable grounds to suspect” he was “not the true source” of the multi-million pound donations he made to Leave.EU’s parent company, Better for the Country.

His funding of the Brexit campaign has been dubbed the biggest donation in British political history.

In the BBC interview on Sunday, Banks was also asked about a report in the Sunday Times that he would back the Remain campaign in a re-run of the 2016 referendum.

"What I said was that the corruption I have seen in British politics, the sewer that exists and the disgraceful behaviour of the government over what they are doing with Brexit and how they are selling out, means that if I had my time again I think we would have been better to probably remain and not unleash these demons,” he replied.

The 2016 Brexit referendum saw 51.9% of voters back leaving the European Union.

Opponents have repeatedly called for a re-run of the vote, with some alleging financial improprieties in the Brexit campaign.

Supporters, meanwhile, have dismissed speculation that foreign money was used in the campaign, and say stopping Brexit would leave the UK in a state of political crisis.