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Brexit backer Arron Banks is facing fresh pressure to explain the source of £8m of funding for the Leave campaign amid claims from a senior MP that he had contradicted his own evidence.

The millionaire businessman is facing a criminal probe over millions of pounds of loans and donations to Leave.EU – a group he co-founded – which has been linked to possible Russian interference in the EU referendum.

Mr Banks sowed confusion when he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday that all the cash came from a UK-registered company, Rock Services. He insisted he was being targeted by politicians trying to overturn the result of the Brexit vote.

However Damian Collins, the influential Tory chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said Mr Banks had previously given evidence to parliament that the company generated no cash of its own and only existed to provide services to his other businesses.

The National Crime Agency launched an investigation into “suspected criminal offences” by Mr Banks and Leave.EU when the elections watchdog said it had reasonable grounds to suspect that Mr Banks was not the true source of the cash.

The Electoral Commission also suspects the money came from Rock Services parent, Rock Holdings, which is registered in the Isle of Man. This would be impermissible under finance rules, the watchdog said.

Mr Collins told the BBC’s Today programme: “Basically Arron Banks said the money came from a holding company that he told the select committee provides services to the other companies he owns.

“What’s not clear is where the money came from to get to that holding company in the first place, because this is a business that in and of itself doesn’t generate cash. The question is where did the money come from? Read more

Related news: Brexit is ‘fraying’ relations between UK and Ireland and putting Good Friday Agreement at risk, Irish premier Leo Varadkar says. Read more