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Disinformation and ‘fake news’: Interim Report Contents

5Russian influence in political campaigns

Introduction

160.The speed of technological development has coincided with a crisis of confidence in institutions and the media in the West. There is a global phenomenon of foreign countries wanting to influence public opinion through disinformation. A report from the University of Oxford published in July 2018 identified evidence of formally-organised social media manipulation campaigns in 48 countries, up from 28 countries last year.191 The evidence led us to the role of Russia specifically, in supporting organisations that create and disseminate disinformation, false and hyper-partisan content, with the purpose of undermining public confidence and of destabilising democratic states. This activity we are describing as ‘disinformation’ and it is an active threat.

161.The Committee heard evidence of a co-ordinated, long-standing campaign by the Russian Government to influence UK elections and referenda, and similar evidence of foreign interference is being investigated by the US Congress in respect of the 2016 US Presidential Election. Thanks to these hearings we know that, during the Presidential Election, the Russians ran over 3,000 adverts on Facebook and Instagram to promote 120 Facebook pages in a campaign that reached 126 million Americans. In further evidence from Facebook given to our Committee, we know that the Russians used sophisticated targeting techniques and created customized audiences to amplify extreme voices in the campaign, particular those on sensitive topics such as race relations and immigration.192

162.Disinformation is an unconventional warfare, using technology to disrupt, to magnify, and to distort.193 According to research from 89up, the communications agency, Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik published 261 media articles on the EU Referendum, with an anti-EU sentiment, between 1 January 2016 and 23 June 2016. Their report also showed that RT and Sputnik had more reach on Twitter for anti-EU content than either Vote Leave or Leave.EU, during the Referendum campaign.194 A joint research project by the Universities of Swansea and of Berkeley, at the University of California, also identified 156,252 Russian accounts tweeting about #Brexit and that they posted over 45,000 Brexit messages in the last 48 hours of the campaign.195

163.In the context of this inquiry, we first learnt about the enormity of the problem when we visited New York in February 2018, and heard from Clint Watts, senior fellow at the Center for Cyber and Homeland Security, George Washington University, about the prevalence of disinformation, perpetrated by Russia Today and Sputnik News, and disseminated through pro-Russia accounts on Twitter and Facebook.196 Back at home, Bill Browder, CEO and co-founder of Hermitage Capital Management, told us that “the purpose of Russian disinformation and Russian propaganda is to plant a seed of doubt in everybody’s mind. If they can create that kind of confusion, they have accomplished their objectives”.197 Edward Lucas, writer and security-policy expert, described the power of Russia to influence, even though Russia is weaker economically:

It is true that Russia is a lot weaker than the West. Its population is about one-seventh of ours. Its GDP is about one-fourteenth. But it still has the capacity to do us harm. It poses a military threat in the Baltic states, where geography and NATO’s weaknesses make it hard to muster a strong conventional defence. It has a proven ability to confuse, distract and distort decision-making, both by targeted attacks on elites, and exerting broader influence on public opinion.198

164.This chapter will study the extent of Russian interference in UK politics, specifically focussing on the EU Referendum of 2016. We will also comment on the Catalonia Referendum of 2017, and the use that Russia makes of tech companies, specifically Facebook.

Use of the data obtained by Aleksandr Kogan in Russia

165.Jeff Silvester, from AIQ, confirmed to us that there was an 80% overlap in terms of common members of audiences that had been used in campaigns run by both SCL/Cambridge Analytica and by AIQ. He confirmed that during the presidential primaries, AIQ advertised, using specific custom audiences with names and email addresses, saying “It is very possible and likely that that information came in, but whether it came directly from the campaign or from SCL I do not know”.199 These datasets were created using Ripon, and “the information that was fed into Ripon once the campaign started was the typical type: who has been contacted and said they would support the campaign”.200 Aleksandr Kogan was supplying information to go into the system to help targeting those adverts.201

166.Aleksandr Kogan told us that he worked at the University of St Petersburg, Russia, in the summer of 2013.202 As a result of that initial work, Dr Kogan was involved in a research group at the same university, studying the issue of cyber-bullying, between 2014 and 2016. Dr Kogan carried out this work at the same time as he was working with Cambridge Analytica.203 When asked about the financing of the research group, Dr Kogan told us he thought that the Russian Government gave a block grant to the university. When asked about whether a research paper was published, he told us “I truly don’t know the exact details of that project. I don’t know the final results. The methodology I loosely understand and remember. Just keep in mind I was a name on a grant rather than an active participant and collaborator on this”.204

167.Dr Kogan gave evidence to us in April 2018. Since that time, the ICO has been investigating Dr Kogan and his data. The Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, and her deputy recently met with law enforcement agencies in the US. The Information Commissioner’s deputy, James Dipple-Johnstone, confirmed that “some of the systems linked to the investigation were accessed from IP addresses that resolve to Russia and other areas of the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States)”.205 It is of concern that people in Russia could have benefitted from the work that Dr Kogan carried out in the UK, in connection with his work for Cambridge Analytica. We look forward to reading the ICO’s findings on this issue in due course.

The role of social media companies in disseminating Russian disinformation

168.Throughout this inquiry, from October 2017 to June 2018, we attempted to gain information from Facebook about the extent of Russian interference in UK political campaigns. Time and again, Facebook chose to avoid answering our written and oral questions, to the point of obfuscation.

169.Facebook finally agreed, in January 2018, to expand its US investigation into alleged Russian interference in the EU Referendum. However, it downplayed the extent of the problem, and told us that the St Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency (IRA) had bought only three adverts for $0.97 in the days before the Brexit vote.206 This did not include unpaid posts, and Facebook did not broaden its investigation beyond those IRA ‘troll farms’ identified during the US presidential election investigation.

170.According to evidence that Facebook submitted to Congress, and later released publicly, Russian anti-immigrant adverts were placed in October 2015 targeting the UK, as well as Germany and France. These amounted to 5,514.85 roubles (around £66).207 We asked Facebook to confirm the total amount of political advertising paid for by Russian agencies targeting Facebook users in the UK since October 2015, to date, and it replied with the following statement, in June 2018:

As we have previously reported to the Committee, we have not found any systematic targeting of the UK by the IRA in the Referendum period (15 April to 23 June 2016), only the minimal activity we reported to the Committee already. Looking further back over the activity of the IRA accounts from as early as January 2015 (including the period of over a year before the start of the regulated referendum period), the total spend on impressions delivered to the UK is approximately $463. This is inclusive of all of the adverts released by the US Congress last month. The $1 spend we previously reported reflects the amount spent during the regulated referendum period by the IRA which is the time period which the Election Commission asked us to investigate.208

171.When we heard from Facebook in Washington D.C., Simon Milner, the then Policy Director UK, Middle East and Africa, Facebook, said that: “Unlike the US election, we have still not been furnished with any intelligence reports from the UK authorities to suggest that there was direct Russian interference using Facebook in the Brexit Referendum”.209 However, it was pressure from the US Senate, and not specific US intelligence staff, that made Facebook do its research into the US election.210 We deem Mr Milner’s comments to the Committee to have been disingenuous and typical of Facebook’s handling of our questions.

172.There has been a continual reluctance on the part of Facebook to conduct its own research on whether its organisation has been used by Russia to influence others. Facebook knows its system better than anyone else, and should not be passively reacting to outside concerns before they carry out their own research and take action.

173.In January 2018, the Prime Minister, Rt Hon Theresa May MP, announced the establishment of a dedicated national security communications unit, to be charged with combating fake news and disinformation by state actors and by others.211 This followed her speech a few months earlier, when she accused Russia of meddling in elections and planting fake news, in an attempt to ‘weaponise information’ and sow discord in the West.212

174.When we took evidence from the then Secretary of State for DCMS in March, Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, he accepted that Russia had been involved in directing disinformation at countries including the UK.213 He said that tackling the “multiple threats” of disinformation and fake news “is incredibly important to safeguarding our democracy,” and, indeed, was “the No. 1 issue faced by our media.”214

175.Over and above the Review, the then Secretary of State said that he was “actively waiting for [the DCMS Committee’s] report”. He did not want to “rule out legislative options to insist on the transparency of platforms.” While he detected a “noticeable” improvement in the level of engagement from the big social media companies over the past six months, there was “a lot more to do.”215 He said that the Government was exploring a range of ideas, including the option of tightening existing rules to tackle illegal content online, and working under the Digital Charter with publishers, tech companies, civil society and others to establish a new framework that protects user’ rights.216

176.In November 2017, the Prime Minister accused Russia of meddling in elections and planting ‘fake news’ in an attempt to ‘weaponise information’ and sow discord in the West. It is clear from comments made by the then Secretary of State in evidence to us that he shares her concerns. However, there is a disconnect between the Government’s expressed concerns about foreign interference in elections, and tech companies intractability in recognising the issue. We would anticipate that this issue will be addressed, with possible plans of action, in the White Paper this Autumn.

Leave.EU, Arron Banks, and Russia

177.Our inquiry into Russian interference broadened even further when we were contacted by three different individuals, with information surrounding email exchanges between Arron Banks and representatives from the Russian Embassy in London.217 The emails describe multiple meetings between Arron Banks, Andy Wigmore and Russian officials, including the Russian Ambassador to the UK, Alexander Yakovenko, involving discussions around gold and diamond acquisitions, the passing of confidential documents, and the exchange of information surrounding the EU Referendum. These meetings, so far as we are aware, began in the period from November 2015, immediately prior to the EU Referendum.

178.In these emails, Mr. Banks talked of briefing the Ambassador about the Referendum, and that there was a lot of interest about it in America.218 He met with the Ambassador, Mr. Yakovenko, and wrote afterward that “I’m very bullish on gold so keen to have a look”.219 In January 2016, Andrew Umbers, chairman of Oakwell Capital Partners, a marketing company to the sports and media tech industry,220 wrote to Siman Povarenkin, a Russian businessman with a tier one visa, suggesting a meeting with “the appropriate Sberbank decision maker” in Moscow, to discuss co-operation with individuals at Sberbank, the state-owned bank that, according to the email, are the “major lenders to all six Russian gold companies.”221 Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore were copied into this email. The emails that we have seen cover different areas, including Alrosa, the Russian diamond monopoly, “touted as one of the companies which could be privatised.”222

179.Another email links Arron Banks with Alexander Nekrassov, a former Kremlin and government adviser:

I have been in touch with Alexander Nekrassov and he is willing to help us from any angle in the Leave campaign. I realise he is a controversial, outspoken person and that there may be some clash of personalities. However, if managed well, he could be a valuable asset to the campaign.223

Note: see corrigendum regarding the below paragraph

180.Mr Nekrassov is also Director of Financial Services of New Century Media. New Century Media’s Chairman is David Burnside, who was previously a Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MP and who has had close connections with Vincent Tchenguiz, who himself used to be the largest shareholder in SCL.224

181.Another email from Arron Banks states: “OK, so there are 11,425 emails that have been filtered from the 43,000. I would suggest that half of these are irrelevant but the main searches for subjects and people are all here—I have checked”.225 We asked Andy Wigmore if, in addition to arranging social meetings for Arron Banks with the Russian Embassy in London, he sent documents to the Russian Embassy. In particular, we asked whether he had contacted the Russian Embassy about George Cottrell, a former UKIP fundraiser and adviser to Nigel Farage. He denied doing this.226 However, an email, sent by him, has been made public, which has six attachments, including FBI documents and the George Cottrell indictment.227

182.When asked about the contents of some of these emails that state that Arron Banks was in Russia in 2016, Mr Banks showed the Committee two Russian visas, photocopied from his two passports, one dated 22 October 2014 and one dated 13 March 2015, and said, “The Sunday Times article that said I travelled to Moscow, I have fairly definitive proof here that I did not and there we are”.228 He told us that he did not have a second passport.229

183.At the time of the email exchanges in 2016, Andy Wigmore had told reporters that Arron Banks was in Russia, but he swept this aside when giving evidence to us: “I can remember teasing many journalists when they asked, ‘Where is Arron?’ I would often say, ‘He’s in Moscow. He’s in Russia.’”230 Mr Wigmore said that information “had just come out about Arron being an agent from a document that is called the Atlantic Council document accusing him of being absolutely all of those things. We teased people about it”.231

184.The document to which Mr. Wigmore was referring was the Atlantic Council’s “The Kremlin’s Trojan Horses” which claims that the Kremlin used politicians, experts, and individuals who had expressed support for the Kremlin’s action as Trojan horses, to destabilise European politics, and referred specifically to UKIP campaigners working with the Leave.EU and Grassroots Out campaigns.232 However, the Atlantic Council document was published on 15 November 2016, a date after the email exchanges to which Mr. Wigmore referred. Mr. Wigmore told us, “My job is to be provocative. That is my job. I am trying to give you—I have this sense of humour.233 […] My job is to spin”.234

185.Arron Banks is, reportedly, the largest individual donor in UK political history. As far as we understand, he met with the Russian Ambassador, for the first time, in the run up to the EU Referendum. Evidence discloses that he discussed business ventures within Russia and beyond, and other financial ventures, in a series of meetings with Russian Embassy staff. Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore have misled the Committee on the number of meetings that took place with the Russian Embassy and walked out of the Committee’s evidence session to avoid scrutiny of the content of the discussions with the Russian Embassy.

186.From the emails that we have seen, it is evident that Arron Banks had many meetings with Russian officials, including the Russian Ambassador, Alexander Yakovenko, between 2015 and 2017. The meetings involved discussions about business deals involving Alrosa, the Russian diamond monopoly, the purchase of gold mines, funded by Sberbank, the Russian-state bank, and the transferring of confidential documents to Russian officials. Mr. Banks seemed to want to hide the extent of his contacts with Russia, while his spokesman Andy Wigmore’s statements have been unreliable—by his own admission—and cannot be taken at face value. Mr Wigmore is a self-confessed liar and, as a result, little significance can be attached to anything that he says. It is unclear whether Mr. Banks profited from business deals arising from meetings arranged by Russian officials. We understand that the National Crime Agency (NCA) is investigating these matters. We believe that they should be given full access to any relevant information that will aid their inquiry.

Foreign investment in the EU Referendum

Arron Banks and his own donations

187.Arron Banks is, to date, the person who has given the largest donation to a political campaign in British history, reported to be £8.4 million.235 When questioned by us in June 2018, Mr. Banks could not give a clear answer about where the money for his donations to support the different Leave campaigns came from. Previously, in April 2018, Mr Wigmore had reported that the sale of NewLaw Legal in 2014 had generated Mr Banks’ donation for the Referendum, yet allegedly he was not a shareholder or a director at the time (although Mr Banks insisted he was a shareholder at the time of the sale).236

188.There have been persistent questions over the extent of Mr Banks’ wealth. Arron Banks refused to answer the question over the solvency of the Southern Rock Insurance Company, which he owns.237 Alan Kentish, another Brexit-connected associate, was on the board of directors of Southern Rock, as well as being involved in ICS Risk Solutions (the parent company of Eldon Insurance, the insurer behind Go Skippy, and owned by Arron Banks, and a holding company on the Isle of Man). The day after the Referendum, Alan Kentish became a director of ICS.238 STM founded Better for the Country, which gave £1.95 million to the umbrella Leave group, Grassroots Out. Better for the Country is owned by Arron Banks. A Channel 4 investigation has revealed court documents in South Africa that pre-date evidence to our Committee. They relate to Mr Banks seeking contact with Russian investors, which suggests he was actively seeking financial support in Russia for his mining businesses in southern Africa.239

189.In 2015, STM became the first company in Jersey to be prosecuted for money-laundering compliance failures. STM was managing operations for Henley & Partners, the company involved in foreign campaigns with Cambridge Analytica.240 Previously, in 2010, STM had used Henley & Partners to help the Ukrainian politician, Viacheslav Suprunenko, apply for a passport in St Kitts and Nevis. He was at the time wanted by Interpol for assault during an armed robbery to recover documents in a business dispute.241

190.The Electoral Commission is carrying out an investigation to trace the source of the money that Arron Banks donated to Leave.EU and Better for the Country.242

191.Arron Banks is believed to have donated £8.4 million to the Leave campaign, the largest political donation in British politics, but it is unclear from where he obtained that amount of money. He failed to satisfy us that his own donations had, in fact, come from sources within the UK. At the same time, we have evidence of Mr. Banks’ discussions with Russian Embassy contacts, including the Russian Ambassador, over potential gold and diamond deals, and the passing of confidential information by Mr Banks. The Electoral Commission should pursue investigations into donations that Arron Banks made to the Leave campaign, to verify that the money was not sourced from abroad. Should there be any doubt, the matter should be referred to the NCA. The Electoral Commission should come forward with proposals for more stringent requirements for major donors to demonstrate the source of their donations.

192.The Electoral Commission has recommended that there should be a change in the rules covering political spending, so that limits are put on the amount of money an individual can donate. We agree with this recommendation, and urge the Government to take this proposal on board.

Catalonia Referendum

193.An example of alleged Russian interference in other countries’ affairs is provided by the Catalan independence Referendum. This was held on 1 October 2017, having been passed by the Parliament of Catalonia and the Law on the Referendum on Self-determination of Catalonia. It was declared illegal on 7 September 2017 and suspended by the Constitutional Court of Spain, declaring it a breach of the Spanish Constitution of 1978.243

194.Francisco de Borja Lasheras told us about the context in which alleged Russian interference occurred:

In the case of Catalonia, we saw a mixture of things that were right—that there were instances of police violence—and of fake news, biased reporting and a misleading account. With all of those patterns, we cannot attribute all of that to Russia; that would just not be correct. It is important to distinguish between proper fake news—there were cases of fake news—and biased reporting. In the case of the Russian-affiliated outlets, you see a little bit of both: you see instances of balanced reporting with instances of biased reporting and fake news.244

195.Information operations should not be studied in isolation; they are part of a complex, interrelated group of actions that disseminate confusion and unrest. Francisco de Borja Lasheras described the context: “You had democratic rule of law versus the right to decide, protest versus the constitutional order, and territorial integrity versus succession. So it did provide an opening for a democratic crisis that is ongoing and very complex”.245 Our witnesses talked about the prevalence of up to 70% to 80% of bots that retweet disinformation.246 Furthermore, journalists who reported on Russian troll farms were attacked verbally and so the established media was undermined by disseminating false information purporting to be fact, such as the claim that 900 people had been injured in Catalonia, which did not happen.247

196.David Alandete told us about Sputnik’s editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan, who is close to Putin, and advised that “I would seriously look into RT and Sputnik, what information they do and what they cover here in the United Kingdom about all sorts of issues because I think it is worth seeing. The State Department in the United States has just requested that they register as foreign agents. Twitter has banned them from buying advertisements, because they think it is propaganda and not advertisement for commercial reasons”.248

197.We heard evidence that showed alleged Russian interference in the Spanish Referendum, in October 2017. During the Referendum campaign, Russia provoked conflict, through a mixture of misleading information and disinformation, between people within Spain, and between Spain and other member states in the EU, and in NATO. We heard evidence that showed that Russia had a special interest in discrediting the Spanish democratic system, through Russian state affiliated TV organisations spreading propaganda that benefitted those wanting independence in Catalonia.

Co-ordination between UK Departments and between countries

198.The UK Government has made Russia a tier 1 national security threat.249 With that should come a united Government approach, but Edward Lucas told us that “everybody’s treading on everybody else’s toes, and what we have seen so far in Whitehall is that there’s been a massive turf war, rather than anything that’s actually dealing seriously with Russia”.250 The problem has been to treat Russia as an emerging economy, which has “created lobbies in this country who are extremely unhappy at the thought of relations with Russia going downhill, and you get those lobbies exercising power in all the political powers”.251

199.Six Committees at the House of Commons, including our own, formed the Russian Co-ordination Group in April 2018. It comprises of the Chairs (and selected members) of Select Committees with an interest in Russia.252 The Group aims to co-ordinate Committee work relating to scrutiny of Russian-related activity by sharing knowledge about relevant inquiries by Committees. The chair of the Group, Tom Tugendhat MP, said about its launch: “We want to produce a system of work that answers the malign influence we are seeing in a collective way from Russia.”253

200.This type of collaboration should be mirrored in the Government, with cross-Departmental work. Edward Lucas cites the work carried out in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, and in Sweden and Finland, where people have been warning the UK since the 1990s about this emerging threat.254 Departments should be working together, sharing data, intelligence and expert knowledge, involving universities, the criminal justice system, intelligence agencies, and the financial system.255

201.Representatives of this Committee participated in the inter-parliamentary meeting at the Atlantic Council, on 16 July 2018, in Washington D.C., in partnership with the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity. The event brought together US, Canadian and EU political representatives, led by Senator Warner and Senator Rubio, to discuss Russian interference in democratic elections around the world. We have included the recommendations from this meeting in the Annex to this Report. One of the recommendations encourages greater sharing of information and best practices between countries:

We support greater and sustained transatlantic cooperation, including between national governments, NATO, and the European Union, to share information on risks, vulnerabilities, and best practices to counter interference. Coordination between parliamentarians and open, regular dialogue with social media, technology companies, and civil society can strengthen these efforts.256

202.We recommend that the UK Government approaches other governments and follows the recommendation agreed by US and EU representatives, including representatives from this Committee, at the recent inter-parliamentary meeting at the Atlantic Council. The Government should share information on risks, vulnerabilities, and best practices to counter Russian interference, and co-ordinate between parliamentarians across the world. Only by sharing information, resources, and best practice will this Government be able to combat Russian interference in our elections. We look forward to a White Paper this autumn, and the opportunity for the Government to set out the practical steps that it will follow to ensure greater global co-operation to combat Russian interference.

203.Just as six Select Committees have joined forces in an attempt to combat Russian influence in our political discourse, so the Government should co-ordinate joint working with the different relevant Departments. Those Departments should not be working in silos, but should work together, sharing data, intelligence and expert knowledge, to counter the emerging threat of Russia, and other malign players.

204.We note that the Mueller Inquiry into Russian interference in the United States is ongoing. It would be wrong for Robert Mueller’s investigation to take the lead about related issues in the UK. We recommend that the Government makes a statement about how many investigations are currently being carried out into Russian interference in UK politics and ensures that a co-ordinated structure exists, involving the Electoral Commission and the Information Commissioner, as well as other relevant authorities.


191 Challenging Truth and Trust: a global inventory of organized social media manipulation, Samantha Bradshaw, Philip N. Howard, Computational Propaganda Research Project, Oxford Internet Institute, July 2018.

193 Fake News: A Roadmap, ed Jente Althuis and Leonie Haiden, NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence, the King’s Centre for Strategic Communications, January 2018

196 An example of the work of Clint Watts is his statement prepared for the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Disinformation: a primer in Russian active measures and influence campaigns, Clint Watts, March 2017.

198 Edward Lucas (FKN0052)

199 Q2922

200 Q2924

201 Q2925

202 Qq2043 and 2044

203 Qq2045 to 2047

205 Elizabeth Denham: data crimes are real crimes, Carole Cadwalladr, The Observer, 15 July 2018

206 Letter from Simon Milner to Damian Collins, 20 December 2017, not published

210 Chair, Q377. The information was obtained during a private meeting, when the Committee was in Washington D.C.

211 The Unit is cross-Government but sits within the Cabinet Office. Domestic disinformation and the role of digital and digital policy, and policy towards the big digital companies and the lead for interactions with those, sit in DCMS’ Digital and Tech Policy Directorate.

212 Prime Minister’s Speech at Lord Mayor’s Banquet, 13 November 2017, reported in The Times.

216 The Future of the Media, Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, the Oxford Media Convention, 12 March 2018.

217 These contacts occurred at the same time as The Sunday Times and The Observer published articles surrounding Russian contact with Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore, in June 2018.

218 12 October 2015 email, not published.

219 17 November 2015 email, not published.

220 Oakwell Capital Partners website, accessed 7 July 2018.

221 18 January 2016 email, from Andrew Umbers to Siman Povarenkin, Sergey Kuznetsov, Andy Wigmore, Arron Banks, not published.

222 Email from Vick van den Brul to Andy Wigmore, 2 February 2016, not published.

223 Email, date unknown, labelled, “Very strange email chain”, not published

224 Ibid.

225 Email from Andy Wigmore to Isabel Oakeshott and others, 24 August 2016

226 Email from Andy Wigmore to Sergey Fedichkin, Russian Embassy, 20 August 2016

227 George Cottrell was arrested in July 2016 while visiting the US by the FBI and was indicted on 21 counts for conspiracy to commit money-laundering, wire fraud, blackmail and extortion. He served eight months in prison.

232 The Kremlin’s Trojan Horses, Atlantic Council, 15 November 2016.

237 Qq3554–3561.This has been investigated by the Gibraltar Finance Services Commission.

238 STM Group PLC is a multi-jurisdictional financial services group listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange. The Board of STM consists of: Robin Ellison (Interim Chairman); Therese Neish (CFO); and Malcolm Berryman (NED).

240 See Chapter 6

242 Digital Campaigning: increasing transparency for voters, The Electoral Commission, June 2018

243 The referendum question was “Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state in the form of a republic”, and the ‘yes’ side won with 92.01% voting for independence, and 7.99% voting against, on a turnout of 43.03%.

246 David Alandete, Q53

247 David Alandete, Q60; Francisco de Borja Lasheras, Q61

249 Edward Lucas, Q887

252 The Select Committees in the Russian Co-ordination group are Defence, Foreign Affairs (who provides the Chair, Tom Tugendhat MP, and the Secretary, Bob Seely MP), Treasury, DCMS, JCNSS and Home Affairs. It is anticipated that the Intelligence and Security Committee will also be represented, with its involvement subject to the necessary restrictions around the confidentiality of its work.

253 The launch was on 20 April 2018.

254 Edward Lucas, Q889

255 Edward Lucas, Q892

256 Refer to Annex for the full set of recommendations




Published: 29 July 2018