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Brexit donor Arron Banks is investigated by National Crime Agency over claims he 'smuggled diamonds out of South Africa'

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 11/08/2019 Tim Stickings For Mailonline
Leave campaigner Arron Banks, who is being investigated by the National Crime Agency for "suspected criminal offences" committed during the Brexit referendum, arrives at the BBC Broadcasting House in London to appear on the Andrew Marr show. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images) © PA Wire/PA Images Leave campaigner Arron Banks, who is being investigated by the National Crime Agency for "suspected criminal offences" committed during the Brexit referendum, arrives at the BBC Broadcasting House in London to appear on the Andrew Marr show. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)

Wealthy Brexit backer Arron Banks may have been involved in smuggling diamonds out of South Africa, it has been alleged. 

Britain's National Crime Agency has been passed claims that Mr Banks, who owns diamond mines in South Africa, tried to get hold of black-market diamonds from Zimbabwe. 

It is alleged that he was trying to supplement his South African diamond exports with the illegal supply from Zimbabwe, pretending they were all from his mines. 

The allegations by Mr Banks's former business partner also include the claim that he was 'dealing with Russians' in the diamond scheme, The Sunday Times reported. 

a man wearing a suit and tie: Wealthy Brexit backer Arron Banks (pictured) may have been involved in smuggling diamonds out of South Africa, it has been alleged © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Wealthy Brexit backer Arron Banks (pictured) may have been involved in smuggling diamonds out of South Africa, it has been alleged Mr Banks has denied the claims, calling them 'ludicrous' and a 'concoction of nonsense'.  

The multi-millionaire donated millions to Ukip before the EU referendum and in 2016 backed Nigel Farage's Leave.EU group with an £8million donation. 

He has since faced scrutiny about the Brexit campaign's alleged links to Russian money. 

Mr Banks, one of the self-described Bad Boys of Brexit, is already under investigation by the NCA over his donation to Leave.EU three years ago. 

The Electoral Commission had referred the case after investigating whether Mr Banks was the 'true source' of the funding. 

Nigel Farage in a suit standing in front of a building: The multi-millionaire donated millions to Ukip before the EU referendum and in 2016 backed Nigel Farage's Leave.EU group with an £8million donation (he is seen with Mr Farage in 2014) © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The multi-millionaire donated millions to Ukip before the EU referendum and in 2016 backed Nigel Farage's Leave.EU group with an £8million donation (he is seen with Mr Farage in 2014)

Mr Banks, 52, made his fortune from the Bristol-based insurance broker Brightside which he founded.

He then went on to found another firm, GoSkippy, and is now said to be worth £100million.

He is married to Russian Ekaterina Paderina and has five children.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 4: Arron Banks, co-founder of Leave.EU, arrives at the BBC Broadcasting House in central London to appear on The Andrew Marr Show. Arron Banks is under investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) into claims that he was not the source of £8m funding given to the Leave.EU campaign. November 04, 2018 in London, England. (Photo credit should read Wiktor Szymanowicz / Barcroft Media via Getty Images) © Wiktor Szymanowicz / Barcroft Media LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 4: Arron Banks, co-founder of Leave.EU, arrives at the BBC Broadcasting House in central London to appear on The Andrew Marr Show. Arron Banks is under investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) into claims that he was not the source of £8m funding given to the Leave.EU campaign. November 04, 2018 in London, England. (Photo credit should read Wiktor Szymanowicz / Barcroft Media via Getty Images) Originally a modest Tory donor, in 2014 he defected to Ukip in anger at then-PM David Cameron's stance on Europe. 

He was pictured alongside Donald Trump when the President met Nigel Farage in New York just days after his shock US election victory. 

Last year Mr Banks claimed he had rejoined the Conservative party along with his associate Andy Wigmore but the Tories said their applications had been rejected. 

Leave campaigner Arron Banks, who is being investigated by the National Crime Agency for "suspected criminal offences" committed during the Brexit referendum, speaks to the media outside BBC Broadcasting House in London, after appearing on the Andrew Marr show. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images) © PA Wire/PA Images Leave campaigner Arron Banks, who is being investigated by the National Crime Agency for "suspected criminal offences" committed during the Brexit referendum, speaks to the media outside BBC Broadcasting House in London, after appearing on the Andrew Marr show. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images) In May 2018 Leave.EU was handed a fine of £70,000 for breaching finance rules in the 2016 referendum. 

After failing to become the lead campaign group for the pro-Brexit movement, it had a spending limit of £700,000 but the Electoral Commission found it exceeded that cap. 

Earlier this year the European Parliament said it would investigate claims that Mr Banks had donated £450,000 to Mr Farage after the referendum. 

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