March 21, 2018 / 11:16 AM / a month ago

Brexit campaigner Banks says - Cambridge Analytica pitched but we did not hire them

LONDON (Reuters) - Brexit campaigner Arron Banks said Cambridge Analytica pitched for work with the Leave.eu campaign ahead of the 2016 Brexit referendum but that ultimately it never did any work - paid or otherwise - for the campaign.

FILE PHOTO: A still image taken from video shows Brittany Kaiser of Cambridge Analytica, Arron Banks, Gerry Gunster and Liz Bilney at the launch of the Leave.EU campaigning organisation, in London, Britain November 18, 2015. REUTERS/Reuters TV/File Photo

“We did have dealings with Cambridge Analytica – they put forward a pitch that went into the designation document submitted to the electoral commission,” Banks told Reuters.

As Leave.eu did not win the designation as the official leave campaign and due to concerns about the London-based consultancy, no work was done with Cambridge Analytica, Banks said.

“Of course we didn’t win the designation therefore we didn’t go ahead with them,” Banks said by telephone. “We had plenty of talks with them but we never did any work paid or otherwise.”

When asked if Leave.eu paid or accepted any services from Cambridge Analytica, Banks said: “No benefit in kind, no data, no nothing.”

“If you want my honest opinion about Cambridge Analytica: it is a snake-oil story,” Banks said.

“In other words, I don’t think they have this magical system that they say they have. I think they are nothing more than a company that places Facebook ads and shrouds in a sort of mystery.”

FILE PHOTO - British businessman Arron Banks, who has funded the Leave.EU campaign, is seen during the opening day of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) annual conference at Doncaster Racecourse in Doncaster, northern Britain September 25, 2015. REUTERS/Andrew Yates

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge. Editing by Andrew MacAskill

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