Farage rejects report he is on FBI radar over Russia links

AP , Thursday 1 Jun 2017

Member of the European Parliament and former leader of the UKIP, Briton Nigel Farage sits with headphones before a debate at the Estoril Conferences- Global Challenges Local Answers held in Estoril on the outskirts of Lisbon, on May 30, 2017.(photo:AFP)

British politician Nigel Farage on Thursday dismissed a report that he was a person of interest in the US probe of possible Russian interference in the 2016 election as "fake news."

His denial came after The Guardian reported the former UKIP leader -- a driving force behind Brexit -- is on the FBI's radar over possible ties to people connected to Donald Trump's campaign and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

"In response to the Guardian article, it has taken me a long time to finish reading because I am laughing so much," Farage said in a statement.

"This is fake news," he said.

"This hysterical attempt to associate me with the (Russian President Vladimir) Putin regime is a result of the liberal elite being unable to accept Brexit and the election of President Trump," he added.

Losing Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton blames her election defeat on cyberattacks by Russia, saying Americans including associates of the Republican president likely had a hand in the effort.

US lawmakers have launched investigations into Russia's efforts to influence the 2016 election and its possible coordination with Trump campaign aides or associates.

The Department of Justice has appointed a former FBI director as a special counsel to head a separate, independent probe, but no evidence of collusion has so far emerged.

Farage stressed that he had "never been to Russia, had no business dealings with Russia," adding that he doubted he was of interest to the FBI as "I have no connections to Russia."

The Guardian report cited one source as saying: "If you triangulate Russia, WikiLeaks, Assange and Trump associates, the person who comes up with the most hits is Nigel Farage."

WikiLeaks published damaging internal emails from The Democratic National Committee -- the governing body of the Democratic Party -- which laid bare the internal tension over Clinton's primary battle with Bernie Sanders.

Intelligence agencies believe Russia released the emails to damage Clinton, an allegation denied by WikiLeaks founder Assange.

Farage was recently spotted visiting the former hacker in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, but insisted that the meeting was organised by a radio station with a view to conducting an interview.

The former UKIP leader made a stump speech during a Trump campaign rally in Mississippi, and was one of the first foreign politicians to meet with the president after his November election win.

Trump tweeted that Farage would "do a great job" as Britain's ambassador to the US, a suggestion rejected by the British government.

Short link: