UK intelligence report says Russia meddled in Scottish independence referendum
British intelligence agencies have found “credible” information suggesting that Russian agents interfered in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, according to a report released Tuesday.
The report, released by the Intelligence and Security Committee, found that “credible open source commentary [suggests] that Russia undertook influence campaigns in relation to the Scottish independence referendum in 2014.″ The vote ended with Scotland narrowly deciding to remain part of the United Kingdom.
Lawmakers on the committee added that further investigation of possible efforts to affect the outcome of Britain’s 2016 vote to leave the European Union were necessary.
“There has been no assessment of Russian interference in the EU referendum and this goes back to nobody wanting to touch the issue with a 10-foot pole,” said Stewart Hosie, a member of Parliament for the Scottish National Party, according to Metro. “There should have been an assessment of Russian interference in the EU referendum and there must now be one, and the public must be told the results of that assessment.”
The report went on to accuse British governments across the political spectrum of allowing Russian oligarchs to launder money in the U.K. while they won access to top political figures.
“Russian influence in the U.K. is the new normal,” the report found. “Successive governments have welcomed the oligarchs and their money with open arms, providing them with a means of recycling illicit finance through the London ‘laundromat,’ and connections at the highest levels with access to U.K. companies and political figures.”
Russia’s foreign ministry issued a statement denying the claims, as it has previously done with claims that it interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. U.S. intelligence agencies announced in 2017 that they had concluded the Russian government had attempted to influence voters in favor of President Trump and against Hillary Clinton, his Democratic opponent.
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