Arron Banks: Claims Russia helped fund Brexit campaign are 'complete b*llocks'
Arron Banks has insisted claims that he worked with the Russians to help fund the campaign to take Britain out of the EU are "complete b*llocks".
The multi-millionaire hit out after the Electoral Commission launched an investigation into whether one of his firms, Better for the Country Ltd (BFTC), breached finance rules during the EU referendum.
BFTC donated £2.4m to various campaigners during the referendum, despite not being registered as a permitted participant.
Specifically, the watchdog will consider whether the organisation was the true source of donations made to campaigners or "if it was acting as an agent".
Labour MP Ben Bradshaw has previously raised concerns over "dark money" being used in the referendum campaign and whether there may have been interference from abroad – particularly Russia.
In a lengthy statement, Mr Banks - who used to help bankroll Ukip - mocked the suggestion that he had been in cahoots with Moscow.
He said: "The Leave.eu campaign was funded by myself, Peter Hargreaves and the general public. The Guardian allegations of “Brexit" being funded by the Russians and propagated by Ben Bradshaw are complete bollocks for beginning to end.
"My sole involvement with the “Russian’s” was a boozy 6 hour lunch with the Ambassador where we drank the place dry (they have some cracking Vodka and Brandy) and then wrote the account of the lunch in my book - “The Bad Boys of Brexit’. Hardly top secret stuff."
Mr Banks accused Mr Bradshaw of creating a "work of fiction" and called for a judge-led inquiry into how all the campaign groups were funded.
Bob Posner from the Electoral Commission said: “Interest in the funding of the EU referendum campaigns remains widespread.
“Questions over the legitimacy of funding provided to campaigners at the referendum risks causing harm to voters’ confidence.
“It is therefore in the public interest that the Electoral Commission seeks to ascertain whether or not impermissible donations were given to referendum campaigners and if any other related offences have taken place.”