Former UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage has become a “person of interest” in the FBI’s ongoing investigation into US President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, according to a new report.
FBI investigators have been looking into Farage’s close ties with Trump and Julian Assange, founder of the WikiLeaks anti-secrecy website, with whom the former UKIP leader met in March, the Guardian reported Friday, citing sources with knowledge of the probe.
Former CIA chief John Brennan said in a recent testimony in the US Senate that WikiLeaks’ release of thousands of hacked emails belonging to the Democratic National Party damaged the campaign of former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last year’s White House battle against Trump.
According to Brennan, Assange was in contact with the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin, a claim that they both have firmly rejected.
The report noted that Farage is not accused of any wrongdoing in the case and is rather believed to have information that might help advance the probe. This means that he might be subjected to scrutiny by the FBI down the road.
“One of the things the intelligence investigators have been looking at is points of contact and persons involved,” one source told the Guardian. “If you triangulate Russia, WikiLeaks, Assange and Trump associates the person who comes up with the most hits is Nigel Farage.
“He’s right in the middle of these relationships. He turns up over and over again. There’s a lot of attention being paid to him,” the source added, noting that the British member of the European Parliament was also in contact with Roger Stone, a long-time Trump ally.
Stone has admitted to making contacts with Guccifer 2.0, an alleged hacked that US intelligence agencies say is in contact with Moscow.
Farage’s spokesman dismissed the report, saying the accusations were “verging on the hysterical.”
“Nigel has never been to Russia, let alone worked with their authorities,” he said.
On Thursday, Farage blasted the allegations as “fake news” and said it was “extremely doubtful” that he would become a person of interest in the case.
Trump and Farage forged a close relationship during the US presidential election. After presidency, Trump said Farage should be the new UK ambassador to the US, a request that London ignored.