Russians ‘tried to interfere in election by promoting leaked trade documents touted by Jeremy Corbyn’

Russian actors “almost certainly” attempted to interfere in last year’s General Election by “amplifying” online leaked US-UK trade negotiation documents which Jeremy Corbyn promoted as evidence of the Conservatives attempting to sell off the NHS.

In a written ministerial statement released on Thursday, Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary, said the Government believes the classified papers were almost certainly promoted online by Russian actors. 

However, it remains unclear whether Russian actors had any involvement in the illicit acquisition of the documents, which first appeared on the Reddit website before the election campaign started.

A criminal investigation into how the documents were first acquired is currently under way. 

There is no suggestion that Labour had any involvement in the illicit obtaining of the papers. 

It comes eight months after discussion site Reddit revealed that it had banned 61 accounts it believed could have been part of a disinformation campaign that was first uncovered last June.

It added that in “late October” one of the accounts had posted the documents, which contained details of meetings between US and UK officials on a post-Brexit trade deal.

In December, the documents were distributed by the then-Labour leader Mr Corbyn at a press conference in central London. 

He claimed they provided evidence that the Government was in advanced stages of negotiations with the US to open up the NHS to American pharmaceutical companies.

When approached at the time, Labour refused to say whether it had obtained the documents from Reddit or via other means.

In a statement issued a week after the press conference, Reddit said the accounts it had banned appeared to show a “pattern of co-ordination” that suggested they were part of a group known as “Secondary Infektion”, which has been linked to Moscow.

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