Classified US-UK trade documents leaked ahead of Britain’s 2019 election were stolen from the email account of former trade minister Liam Fox by Russian hackers between July 12 and October 21 last year, two sources have said.

Last month, a UK intelligence report said that “Russian actors” had tried to interfere in its 2019 general election by amplifying online “illicitly acquired and leaked government documents”.

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The sources said the attack bore the hallmarks of a state-backed operation. Among the stolen information were six tranches of documents detailing the UK-US Free Trade Agreement, which were disseminated online by a Russian disinformation campaign. Foreign minister Dominic Raab confirmed that report last month.

“There is an ongoing criminal investigation into how the documents were acquired, and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this point”, a UK government spokeswoman said.

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Last month, a British report has found that Moscow had tried to influence a referendum on Scottish independence in 2014, and that Britain’s government had failed to adequately investigate possible Russian attempts to sway the 2016 vote on Brexit.


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