Arron Banks walks out of MP meeting because he's late for lunch

Lester Mason
June 12, 2018

Referring to claims that the police could be asked to investigate, Mr Banks said: "I would like to know what the police are going to investigate".

Banks, who financed the Leave.EU campaign, said that at the time when he and his associate Andy Wigmore met Russian Embassy officials before the 2016 referendum, contact with them was not regarded as an issue.

"Sorry I have to insist", Mr Banks said.

He said: "We had a couple of issues in relation to bananas and sugar and the initial conversation I had with this gentleman at the Ukip conference - I was trying to find investors to look at perhaps buying a banana farm which had got into trouble because of its owner. and as a outcome Belize couldn't sell its bananas in places like the United States or the United Kingdom. Did those business deals go through?"

Arron Banks has insisted there is "no evidence" his pro-Brexit campaign Leave.EU took any Russian money.

Banks also confirmed to the committee investigating fake news the Brexit-backing group held talks with controversial data firm Cambridge Analytica and meant to use its services if it had been selected as the official Leave campaign - which it was not.

When Mr Collins again pressed for five more minutes, Mr Banks responded sternly: "No, no, no - the word is "no".

"I met with him, I'm a businessman, why shouldn't I?"

"You've got to see the genesis of where this all came from".

Banks was attending the select committee inquiring into fake news, in the aftermath of the leak of a cache of emails belonging to him, Wigmore and others which suggested that his dealings with Russian Federation were far more extensive than previously thought.

Mr Banks said he first met the Russian ambassador over a "boozy lunch".

Banks and Wigmore also told MPs that they had passed a phone number for the Trump transition team to Yakovenko at another lunch they had with him in November 2016, a few days after their infamous visit to Trump Tower where they had met the then president-elect after waiting in the building for six hours. "What's wrong with that?" You said when you left 20 minutes, and now we've run way past 20 minutes.

Earlier, it emerged that Banks had lodged an appeal against the Electoral Commission over its decision to levy a £70,000 fine against Leave.EU for breaching its spending limits. Collins told the committee that as a result it would not be possible for the committee to explore related areas.

His appearance comes after Prime Minister Theresa May said calls for an inquiry into alleged links between Russian Federation and the campaign to leave the European Union are a matter for the police.

"I didn't know that Roman Abramovich was Putin's number one man in London, but you may know more than I do".

"All I can say is I got invited to the football, I didn't meet the owner, I wasn't offered Stalin's vodka, I'm not as good at pushing their buttons as you are". The MP said: "Chelsea won 2-1, that was the extent of the entertainment".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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