With barely over a week to go before Brexit — the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union — is scheduled to take effect, as CNN reports, a new report published this week indicates that two of the leading political figures behind the 2016 Brexit “Leave” campaign are under investigation by Robert Mueller, the United States special counsel probing Russian interference in the 2016 Donald Trump presidential campaign.
Those two figures are Nigel Farage, the 54-year-old former leader of Britain’s right-wing, anti-immigration UKIP party, and Arron Banks, 53, a businessman who made the single largest donation in British political history to benefit the “Leave” campaign. Banks donated or “loaned” the equivalent of $10 million to “Leave” — the campaign that supported Britain’s departure from the EU — a sum that, according to a Washington Post report, may have been funneled through Banks from another, still mysterious source.
Banks is facing a criminal investigation in Britain over his Brexit “Leave” financing, but according to a report published in the March 25 issue of The New Yorker magazine, both Banks and Farage have now been swept up into Mueller’s Russia investigation.
“According to an American lawyer with knowledge of the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into links between the Trump campaign and Russia, Banks and Farage have become persons of interest in that inquiry,” wrote New Yorker journalist Ed Caesar.
Caesar added, however, that Andrew Wigmore — another top “Leave” campaigner and close associate of Banks and Farage — called the claim that Mueller is investigating his two colleagues “bollocks.”
As Inquisitr reported last June, Banks has been suspected of passing contact information for Trump transition team officials in 2016 to Russian officials. The pugnacious businessman was also found to have lied about the number of times he met with the U.K. Russian Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko.
While Farage has denied any connections to Russia, the right-wing politician has been a visitor to Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, which released thousands of emails allegedly stolen from Democratic party servers by Russian hackers during the 2016 campaign. According to The Guardian newspaper, Farage may have also passed data to Assange in the form of “a thumb drive.”
The New Yorker report was not the first time that Farage has been linked to the Mueller Russia investigation. In November of last year, right-wing author Jerome Corsi, who has been interviewed by Mueller’s investigators, said that Mueller’s team had grilled him about Farage in that interview, according to The Guardian.
A spokesperson for Farage told The Guardian that Corsi’s claim was “malicious gossip and wholly untrue,” and Wigmore said that Farage had not been contacted by Mueller, as of last November.