LONDON — A former BBC journalist is facing accusations of being a paid agent for a Russian propaganda network that was behind an anti-Semitic online campaign to attack British Jews, the first such allegations in a decade.
The allegations come as Prime Minister Theresa May seeks to shore up support ahead of an election campaign.
The allegations also come as the UK continues to grapple with an outbreak of the coronavirus that has sickened at least 1,800 people and killed more than 10,000 in Britain this year.
According to a lawsuit filed by former BBC reporter Alex Pareene, he was paid by the “Russias Sputnik Media” (RSM), a propaganda group funded by the Russian government, to spread “fake news” about British Jews.
The group claimed to have received millions of dollars in funding from the Russian Government.
The suit, filed Friday in London, also alleges Pareen received payment from the RT Foundation, a nonprofit group in Russia that is funded by RT.
The lawsuit alleges Parense was paid for his role in spreading false news, “to create a climate of fear and intimidation.”
It adds that Parene was paid at least $100,000 between 2011 and 2016.
Pareene joined the BBC in 1999 and worked for the BBC for a number of years.
He left in 2013 after a report aired on RT that exposed RT’s links to the Kremlin.
The report said Paree had a long history of spreading propaganda for RT, including spreading false claims that President Vladimir Putin’s regime had been behind the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.RT, which is funded largely by the Kremlin, denied Pareenes allegations in the lawsuit.
RT said it was not aware of the lawsuit and did not respond to a request for comment.
Parense worked at the BBC between 2008 and 2016, according to the lawsuit, which was filed in England and London.
It was filed Friday.
In a statement, Pareena said he was a “very well respected journalist” who “never used his position to advance the aims of any particular organization.”
He added that RT “never gave me anything to do with the creation or dissemination of any information.
All RT has done is make my job much easier by helping me with my journalism and helping me to understand the complex world of the Russian media.”