Brexit campaigner Arron Banks downplays Russian Federation meetings

Lester Mason
June 13, 2018

He added: "I have no business in Russian Federation, I have done no business deals in Russian Federation".

Banks said he had two lunches with the Russian ambassador, who introduced him to a businessman who was proposing a complex gold-mining deal in Russia.

Millionaire Brexit campaigner Arron Banks in London. You said when you left 20 minutes, and now we've run way past 20 minutes.

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

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

Leave.EU communications chief Andy Wigmore, who was also appearing before the committee, added: "You can join us if you want".

Tory MP and culture select committee chairman Damian Collins looked visibly shocked at Mr Banks and urged him to stay "five more minutes".

"In light of the fact that, according to Guido, you had some hospitality from Putin's number one man in the United Kingdom, do you not think you are a bit conflicted questioning us about this today?" he said. Mr Banks has said he will appeal against the ruling.

Lawmakers want to question Brexit backer on Russia meetings
Brexit backer Arron Banks to face MPs over Russia claims

"Was that money made used in political campaigning? I pay a shed-load of tax, probably more than the entire committee put together", he said.

"I'm not going to be lectured about my business interests".

Mr Banks joked that he was portrayed as an "evil genius with a white cat that controls the whole of western democracy". Farage: "Were you "reporting back" to the Russian Ambassador?"

But as he was being questioned by Parliament's media committee, Mr Banks interrupted the meeting to claim that he and Mr Wigmore needed to leave immediately to have lunch.

It followed a Sunday Times claim that his contacts in the country are more extensive than previously disclosed.

Cambridge Analytica, which was hired by Trump in 2016, has denied its work on the USA president's successful election campaign made use of allegedly improperly harvested data - but questions have since been raised over any role in other votes.

"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".

MPs repeatedly questioned Banks, an insurance entrepreneur, about the sources of his money, prompting Banks to deny any of his wealth that he used to pump at least £9m of loans and donations to the Brexit campaign was from Russian Federation.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

Discuss This Article