Brexit’s biggest campaign donor is reportedly being investigated by the National Crime Agency (NCA) over alleged links to Russia. The NCA was handed emails belonging to multimillionaire Arron Banks, co-founder of the Leave.EU campaign, revealing previously undisclosed meetings between the businessman and the Russian ambassador in London, according to The Times. The emails reportedly show Mr Banks was offered three Russian business deals in the buildup to the Brexit vote, including a gold mine in west Africa and a stake in Russia’s state-owned diamond mining organisation Alrosa. The revelations about the extent of Mr Banks’s Russian contacts will trigger further scrutiny as to whether the Russians sought to influence the Brexit vote.
Mr Banks has said he did not take part in any of the deals, though a fund management company, headed by his business partner Jim Mellon, did gain a stake below the market rate in Alrosa, according to the New York Times.
The NCA has reportedly interviewed witnesses and is liaising with MI5 and US special counsel Robert Mueller, whose team is investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.