Billionaire George Soros donates £400,000 to campaign opposing Brexit
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Billionaire George Soros donates £400,000 to campaign opposing Brexit

Hungarian-born Jewish businessman waded into the Brexit debate, saying he would help pay for a campaign to reverse the vote.

George Soros
George Soros

The Jewish billionaire whose bet against the pound caused the UK to crash out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1992 is stumping up £400,000 to keep Britain in the European Union.

George Soros, 87, a Hungarian-American investor who has already donated $18 billion to democracy projects around the world, waded into the Brexit debate on Thursday by saying he would help pay for a campaign to reverse the vote.

Soros was born in 1930, survived Nazi-occupied Hungary and emigrated to Britain in 1947 to begin life as a banker. He later became known as ‘the man who broke the Bank of England’ after betting against the pound, making him $1 billion profit.

His money is being donated to the Best for Britain campaign, which advocates staying in the European Union. It was co-founded Gina Miller, who successfully sued the government over its decision to invoke the Article 50 treaty terms to formally begin the process of leaving the EU, re-establishing the sovereignty of Parliament.

The organisation is chaired by the highly influential former UK government minister and deputy UN secretary-general Lord Malloch-Brown, who took up leadership positions at some of Soros’s funds and institutes in 2007.

In 2013 Malloch-Brown was sued by controversial Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz, who claimed the British diplomat had given Soros confidential information which led to a smear campaign against him and his mining company.

The case settled out of court, but last year the allegations led to Steinmetz’s arrest by a joint Israeli-Swiss team on “allegations of large-scale fraud, breach of trust, bribery, obstruction of justice and false registration of corporate documents” with the apparent purpose of money laundering.

Soros is not well-liked in Israel, because his Open Society Foundation has vowed to “challenge Israel’s racist and anti-democratic policies,” a reference to the policies of successive Benjamin Netanyahu governments.

In Hungary, Soros’s progressive and liberal focus has also upset the right-wing authoritarian government, and he was recently the subject of a government-supported anti-Semitic smear campaign.

The philanthropist has spent millions of dollars supporting the left-leaning Central European University in Budapest, which is seen as the intellectual home of the Hungarian government’s critics.

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