Private Twitter messages from one of the architects of the Brexit hacked and put online

The Arron Banks Twitter account, which largely funded the Brexit campaign in 2016, was hacked, and its private messages posted.

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Arron Banks passes pro-Brexit protesters at the entrance of the British Parliament in March 2019. Hannah Mckay / REUTERS

The Twitter account of Aaron Banks, a British millionaire and one of Brexit's key men, was hacked. The account of the entrepreneur posted for several hours, Tuesday, November 19, a link to download a folder of documents, presented as containing his private messages on Twitter (DM).

Aaron Banks, considered the "big moneymaker" of the Brexit, largely financed the "" campaign, active in 2016 in favor of Brexit, and of which he participated in the creation. Since then, Arron Banks has been suspected of various violations of UK electoral legislation – including several unreported contributions of support payments. An insurance company he owns was fined 120,000 pounds (140,000 euros) in February for sending pro-Brexit emails to his clients.

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In a statement released Tuesday early in the afternoon, Banks said he reported the hijacking of his account twelve hours ago on Twitter. "They chose to leave personal data in the public domain deliberately", he writes in a statement published by the official account "", which does not deny the authenticity of the documents posted.

Twitter later temporarily removed the account of Mr. Banks, who was distributing the download links, in the course of the afternoon. In a statement sent to the BBC, the social network indicated that "Were taken to secure the account that was compromised". access to Mr. Banks' Twitter account was later reinstated, but without messages indicating how to download the hacked documents.

Messages from 2015 and 2016

The documents, that The world have been able to consult, contain what appears to be a vast amount of private messages sent and received by Mr. Banks, between 2015 and 2016. Among these messages, many welcome the work done for the Brexit campaign by Cambridge Analytica, the at the heart of a huge scandal after using personal data from Facebook, illegally collected from hundreds of millions of people to conduct political advertising campaigns.

The identity and motivations of the hacker, who took possession of Arron Banks Twitter account to publish these documents, remain here a mystery. In the files, we find a note which gives some technical indications on the elements diffused: it is signed, in Cyrillic, of a certain "Sergey Vladimirovich". An element that seems to have been deliberately introduced to obscure the tracks, the authors of such piracy, or dissemination of stolen files, never giving their real identity (it is, moreover, the only element in Cyrillic in these documents) . The alleged hacker does not say, however, whether he truncated the data to which he had access, or whether the documents circulated constitute all the private messages attributed to Mr. Banks.


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