June 12, 2018 / 12:19 PM / a year ago

Brexit campaigner Wigmore says never accepted Russian money

Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore, who ran the Leave.Eu pro-Brexit referendum campaign, eat pork pies offered by an anti-Brexit campaigner as they arrive to give evidence to the Digital Culture Media and Sport Parliamentary Committee in London, Britain, June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

LONDON (Reuters) - Brexit campaigner Andy Wigmore told a parliamentary committee on Tuesday that he had never accepted money from the Russian government.

The media committee is probing the possible ties to Russia of both Wigmore and businessman Arron Banks who bankrolled the Leave.EU campaign in the 2016 EU referendum campaign.

The Sunday Times said at the weekend those ties went further than the pair had previously disclosed.

Asked by a committee member if he had ever accepted money from the Russian government ahead of the referendum, Wigmore replied: “No”.

Britain has said it has seen no evidence of Russian interference in the vote, but as part of a broader inquiry into “fake news,” lawmakers on the committee are investigating whether the Kremlin tried to influence public opinion beforehand.

When asked if he had passed information to Russian officials, Banks told the committee that he had given them a telephone number for U.S. President Donald Trump’s transition team before his inauguration.

“The only thing we gave in the second meeting was the telephone number of the transition team because the Russians wanted to get hold of the transition team,” Banks said.

Reporting by Alistair Smout and Sarah Young; editing by Stephen Addison

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