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Illegal political funding across Europe. Part II

Russian support for right wing eurosceptic parties across Europe, whether it is UKIP in the United Kingdom, the FN in France, or the AfD in Germany, may one day be seen by historians as a arm of Putin’s foreign policy which aimed to break up the European Union. Likewise Russian interference in the US Presidential election of 2016 may be viewed as an attempt to destabilize the United States of America.

Arron Banks and August von Finck (for information on Fink see Part I of this article) have two things in common: the first is gold, and the second is they both like making generous donations to right wing eurosceptic political causes or parties. Arron Banks was the multi million pound donor behind Nigel Farage’s campaign for the UK to leave the EU. In November 2015 Banks set up the campaign organization Leave.EU, which was involved in the 2016 EU referendum.

According to an article by Carole Cadwalladr entitled: “Top Brexit funder ‘had multiple meetings with Russian officials'”, published in The Observer on 10th June 2018, Banks had two meetings with Russian government officials in the week Leave.EU was launched. According to the article Banks and his business partner Andy Wigmore were invited to the Russian embassy in London on 18th November 2015, where the Russian ambassador, Alexander Yakovenko introduced them to a Russian businessman with interests in Russian goldmines. The article said: “they were offered a chance to invest in a plan to buy six Russian gold firms and merge them into a single entity potentially netting a prfit of several billion dollars.”

In another article by Luke Harding and Dina Nagapetyants entitled: “UK visa of Russian oligarch who met Banks under review” published in The Guardian on 16th June 2018, the Russian business man was named as Siman Povarenkin, the founder of GeoProMining, a company which runs gold mining enterprises in Armenia, Russia and Georgia. According to the article, Russia’s biggest bank Sberbank has investments in GeoProMining, whose chief executive German Gref is a former economics minister with connections to the Kremlin. The Guardian article of 16th June 2016 said: “On 5th July 2016, days after the referendum, Sberbank announced that it was upping its stake in Povarenkin’s GeoProMining firm, from 23.74% to 31.5%.”

The Kremlin would have known that the UK leaving the EU is going to cause chaos for trade between the British Isles and continental Europe. Under these circumstances: shipments of food, medicines along with other goods and services are going be disrupted. This in turn could cause a global economic slump, which would push up the price of gold as an alternative investment. However, for the Kremlin it would be more than just manipulating the price of gold, but rather weakening cooperation between western allies.

Sources

Cadwalladr, Carole. (10th June 2018) “Top Brexit funder ‘had multiple meetings with Russian officials'”, The Observer.

Harding, Luke; Nagapetyants, Dina. (16th June 2018) “UK visa of Russian oligarch who met Banks under review”, The Guardian.

©Jolyon Gumbrell 2019



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