LONDON (Reuters) – Brexit campaigner Arron Banks, who funded the Leave.EU campaign during Britain’s 2016 referendum campaign, has lost a defamation case brought against a journalist over allegations he had links to Russian money .

The banks, which have provided millions to the Brexit campaign, had sued Carole Cadwalladr over tweets and a conference broadcast in 2019, claiming they had seriously damaged her reputation.

In her ‘Ted Talk’, Cadwalladr, a freelance journalist who has contributed material to the Guardian and Observer newspapers, said: ‘I’m not even going to get into the lies that Arron Banks told about his secret relationship with the Russian government. .”

She later apologized to Banks saying she accepted it was untrue that he said “untruths about a secret relationship he had with the Russian government” about the acceptance of foreign money to finance an election campaign in violation of the law.

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The High Court in London ruled that Cadwalladr either had a public interest defense to the posts or that Banks had failed to prove that they had caused significant harm.

“Accordingly, the application is dismissed,” Judge Karen Steyn said in her ruling.

Cadwalladr said on Twitter that she was “so deeply grateful and relieved” while Banks said he would likely appeal the verdict.

“The judge felt sorry for Carole, that’s how I would sum it up. Defamatory but without serious prejudice. I guess falsely accusing someone of taking Russian money for Brexit does not cut not ice cream,” he said.

Bank has previously been questioned in parliament about her ties to Russia, but has always denied having business there. He previously told Reuters he had never received any Brexit money or help from Russia, and blamed the accusation on those who opposed Britain’s exit from the EU. .

In 2018 the National Crime Agency investigated allegations that he was not the true source of an £8million loan to Leave.EU and Better for the Country Limited (BFTC), which Banks controlled and who ran the Leave.EU campaign.

The Electoral Commission had suspected that criminal offenses had been committed, but the NCA concluded that there was no evidence of any offences.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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