Originally the disease, which has killed more than half a million and triggered lockdowns across the world, was believed to have originated at a Wuhan live animal market. However, China’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention recently admitted it likely originated elsewhere and the market was merely a major point of spread.

Speaking to the Mail on Sunday Mr Bannon sensationally claimed “defectors” from the nearby Wuhan Institute of Virology were cooperating with western intelligence services- although this has not been proven to be true.

He commented: “I know that certain defectors are working with the FBI here to try to knit together what happened.

“They are not talking to the media yet, but there are people out of the Wuhan lab and other labs that have come to the West and are turning over evidence of the culpability of the Chinese Communist Party. I think people are going to be shocked.

“People around these labs have been leaving China and Hong Kong since mid-February. [US intelligence] along with MI5 and MI6 are trying to build a very thorough legal case, which may take a long time. It’s not like James Bond.

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I know that certain defectors are working with the FBI here to try to knit together what happened” (Image: GETTY)

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The Wuhan Institute of Virology (Image: GETTY)

Referring to western spy agencies Mr Bannon added: “I think they have electronic intelligence, and that they have done a full inventory of who has provided access to that lab.

“I think they have very compelling evidence. And there have also been defectors.”

The Wuhan Institute of Virology, founded in 1956, opened China’s first biosafety level 4 laboratory in 2015.

Mr Bannon also claimed the facility may have been bugged by the French when French companies helped construct it.

READ MORE: China reports NEW unknown disease spreading across Asian country 

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Steve Bannon with Donald Trump and Mike Pence in the White House in 2017 (Image: GETTY)

He asserted: “The thing was built with French help, so don’t think that there aren’t some monitoring devices in there.

“I think what you are going to find out is that these guys were doing experiments which they weren’t fully authorised [to do] or knew what they were doing and that somehow, either through an inadvertent mistake, or on a lab technician, one of these things got out.

“It’s not that hard for these viruses to get out. That is why these labs are so dangerous.”

Chinese authorities have always fervently denied any link between the Wuhan laboratory and the development of COVID-19.

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Scientists working at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (Image: GETTY)

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President Trump pictured wearing a mask during a military hospital visit on Saturday (Image: GETTY)

Speaking to CGTN, China’s state controlled English language network, Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory director Dr Yuan rejected any connection.

She commented: “Without authorisation none of our researchers can take a drop of water or a piece of paper out of the lab.

“So when some people speculated that we might take the experimental animals out to sell or that these experimental animals might escape from the lab, they actually had no idea about the management and operations of our lab.”

Separately in February Shi Zhengli, deputy director of the Wuhan laboratory, told journalists she could “guarantee with her own life” Covid-19 had not originated in the facility.

Mr Bannon worked in the Trump White House for seven months before he was fired, before which he ran Mr Trump’s successful 2016 presidential election campaign.

During this period Mr Bannon, who previously ran a website he said provided “the platform for the alt-right”, was sharply criticised by Democrats and more moderate Republicans.

President Trump has also claimed coronavirus originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology, though he told reporters he can’t say how he knows this.

Mr Bannon continued: “Regardless of whether it came out of the market or the Wuhan lab, the Chinese Communist party’s subsequent decisions hold them guilty of pre-meditated murder.

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Steve Bannon is known for his anti-immigration and anti-globalist views (Image: GETTY)

“We know this because Taiwan formally informed the WHO on December 31 that there was some sort of epidemic coming out of Hubei province.

“If they [Chinese authorities] had been straightforward and truthful in the last week of December, 95 per cent of the lives lost and the economic carnage would have been contained.

“That is the tragedy here. They used the time to scoop up all the world’s personal protective equipment. This is a murderous dictatorship.”

Mr Bannon also used the interview to urge Britain to scrap plans to give Chinese company Huawei a role in the UK’s 5G network.

source: express.co.uk

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