Lead Brexiteer denies Russia links

By Alix Culbertson, political reporter
Millionaire Brexiteer Arron Banks has denied visiting Russia during the EU referendum amid calls for police to investigate his Kremlin links.
The Leave.EU founder said he has Russian visas in his passport showing he went to the country in 2014 and 2015 to visit his Russian in-laws, but not February 2016, four months before the Brexit vote.
He is accused of meeting Kremlin officials during the referendum campaign amid concerns of Russian influence.Mr Banks, who gave €9m to the Nigel Farage-supported Leave campaign, denies any involvement with Russian officials, or that Russian money played a part in the Brexit campaign.He is due to appear before a digital select committee on fake news on Tuesday to answer questions about Leave.EU's role in the European referendum.
I have Russian visas in my passport clearly stamped, no visit in Feb 2016. The Sunday Times got the date wrong ..— Arron Banks (@Arron_banks) June 11, 2018
Emails seen by The Observer this weekend suggest that Leave.EU leaders met high-ranking Russian officials several times between November 2015 and 2017.They also suggest there were two meetings in the same week Leave.EU launched its campaign and the Russian ambassador introduced Mr Banks to a Russian businessman who reportedly offered him a multibillion dollar opportunity to buy Russian goldmines.The Observer claimed the emails suggested Mr Banks visited Moscow in February 2016 to meet key partners and financiers behind a gold project, including a Russian bank.However on Monday Mr Banks tweeted: "I have Russian visas in my passport clearly stamped, no visit in Feb 2016."
And he claimed his emails were "stolen" by Christopher Wylie, the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower who told of his company using private Facebook data for the 2016 US presidential elections.Mr Banks said he will be reporting the "theft" on Tuesday.
Lead Brexiteer denies Russia links

Arron Banks donated ?9 towards Leave.EU, which Nigel Farage campaigned on behalf
Tagging the two Observer journalists, the businessman tweeted: "The emails belonged to me and were stolen by someone @carolecadwalla @peterjukes, you used stolen property to write the story."Your key whistleblower Chris Wylie says he saw them months ago and gave them to British & US intelligence. We will be reporting the theft tomorrow."Labour MP Stephen Kinnock told Sky News he will be sending a letter on Monday to the police urging them to launch a criminal investigation into links between Mr Banks and the Russian government.
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He said he wrote to the Electoral Commission (EC) and the Metropolitan Police in early 2017, expressing his concerns but police said they would only get involved if the EC asked them to.However, he claimed the EC "is not fit for purpose" so will be writing to the Met again.
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