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Brexit Donor Faces Down BBC, Sky News Over Russia Allegations

Brexit
DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images
OLIVER JJ LANE

Brexit-backing businessman Arron Banks faced down mainstream media pundits at the BBC and Sky News Sunday, over allegations he was a conduit for Russian money during the EU referendum.

Banks co-founded the Leave.EU campaign endorsed by Brexit heavyweight Nigel Farage. The money donated by Mr Banks and his businesses during the EU referendum has become the subject of several conspiracy theories since the public’s upset decision to vote for Brexit.

EU loyalists have since been prone to pushing unsubstantiated rumours that the insurance tycoon’s investments in “clapped out” mines in South Africa may have provided cover for “the Kremlin” to furnish him with sacks of diamonds.

The claims have been given new life by the Electoral Commission’s decision — made over the advice of its own enforcement officer, according to Mr Banks and his associate — to refer the question of Leave.EU’s funding to the National Crime Agency (NCA) for further investigation.

The NCA investigation was immediately leapt upon by EU loyalists, with Remain-supporting MPs and commentators claiming Brexit, officially scheduled for March 2019, should be delayed until the investigation is completed — echoing the demands of the American left with respect to Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Mr Banks came out swinging on Sunday the 4th of November, however, releasing a number of bank statements to the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show and holding combative interviews with the eponymous host and a Sky News anchor in the afternoon.

Banks took no prisoners in his television appearances, contrasting Marr’s past use of super-injunctions to gag press reports on an extra-marital affair with his own efforts at transparency. He also highlighted the little-discussed role of multinational investment banking corporations in the funding of the official Remain campaign, and pointed to the anti-Brexit bias of the Electoral Commission itself, among other things.

Responding to the Sky interviewer’s claim that the Electoral Commission is “an independent, democratic body” — in fact it is wholly appointed — Banks responded: “You say it’s an independent Commission… They’re ex-MPs from the Labour Party, Liberals, they’re all Remainers, they’ve made some horrendous statements on Brexit, including the chairman who said Brexit was a bunch of nonsense, one’s called for a second, referendum, it’s a political hit job” — prompting the journalist to repeat “I’m sorry to interrupt” three times before managing to change the subject.

Banks also stated he was confident the NCA would clear him and his campaign, branding the Electoral Commission a “shambles” and dismissing the whole exercise an attempt by the Remain campaign to “tarnish” the Leave campaign and derail Brexit.

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