Leave campaigner ‘not involved with Russians’
BREXIT campaigner Arron Banks is ‘absolutely a straight guy’, says a Guernsey-based director of one of his companies in the spotlight over £8m. of loans made during the EU referendum.
Remain supporting Tim Revill said that Mr Banks was a victim of a ‘massive witch hunt’ after the UK’s National Crime Agency announced it was investigating Mr Banks after the case was referred to it by the Electoral Commission.
After completing its own investigation, the commission said it had reasonable grounds to suspect that Mr Banks was not the ‘true source’ of £8m. reported as loans to the Leave.EU campaign and to Better for the Country Ltd in the 2016 EU referendum.
The commission also said that it had reasonable grounds to suspect that Rock Holdings, a company incorporated in the Isle of Man, was a party to the transactions, which would be impermissible under the rules. Mr Banks is a majority shareholder in Rock Holdings.
Mr Revill, a director of Rock Holdings, said: ‘I have been friends with Arron for 15 years now and I don’t agree with his politics. I am a Remainer 100%.
‘But I don’t suppose the milkman stops providing milk to Arron if he is a Remainer, much like I don’t stop providing financial services to a mate of mine because I have got a job to do.
‘I can tell you now that Arron is absolutely a straight guy. He is generous and he is reliable. I would say that he is passionately anti-establishment and suffers from a certain amount of arrogance that really winds people up – and I would say that to his face.’
Mr Revill, a chartered accountant, said: ‘He is a completely straight guy, I can assure you. There is no Russian money there at all. In fact, there is no money from outside sources at all. This is a massive witch hunt.’
Last Sunday, Mr Banks told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that the money came from his UK businesses.
‘There was no Russian money and no interference of any type. I want to be absolutely clear about that. The money came from Rock Services which was a UK limited company,’ said the insurance millionaire.
The parent company of Rock Services is Rock Holdings. Mr Revill explained that Rock Services was a ‘clearing house’ for funds, expenses and income of Mr Banks’ group of insurance companies – with the revenues derived from UK customers.
‘I can promise you if I thought there was Russian money in it, I wouldn’t go anywhere near it,’ added Mr Revill.
‘There is a simple explanation in writing being prepared and all the figures are going to be proved and substantiated by the auditors.
‘Arron is inviting and happy for the NCA to come in and do an audit trail. He has fallen under suspicion by association with his wife Katya, who is Russian but has been in this country for many, many years.’
Mr Revill also said that there was no connection with Guernsey other than he just happened to live on the island.