MPs to question leading Brexiteer Arron Banks over Russia links

Remigio Civitarese
Giugno 14, 2018

Banks told the Commons digital, culture, media and sport committee that he thought it was worth attending the initial meeting with Siman Povarenkin but was then warned to "be circumspect" about becoming involved by the former general Lord Guthrie and a city grandee, Peter Hambro.

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

"Sorry I have to insist", Mr Banks said. "It was when Trump won, there had to be reason he won and Brexit had happened".

"I'm frankly sick and exhausted of this", Banks said, a millionaire insurance entrepreneur.

In recent days, Mr. Banks has accused the Guardian newspaper of "us [ing] stolen" emails, after a computer belonging to a journalist who helped to write his book, The Bad Boys of Brexit, was allegedly "hacked".

Britain has said it has seen no evidence of Russian interference in the vote, but as part of a broader inquiry into "fake news", lawmakers on the media committee are investigating whether the country tried to influence public opinion before the referendum.

The two witnesses said that when Wigmore emailed a journalist at the time to suggest Banks was in Russian Federation and unavailable, he was being mischievous and lying.

Former FBI director Robert Mueller is now investigating any possible collusion between Trump's 2016 election campaign team and Russian Federation.

Mr Banks confirmed to the committee that he had been introduced to Cambridge Analytica by former Trump aide Steve Bannon.

He and Mr Banks subsequently got "trollied" over an enjoyable lunch with Russian ambassador Alexander Yakovenko.

"If you don't like the tax law pertaining to this country, get out there and change that".

The session followed claims that Mr Banks's dealings with Russians were more extensive than he previously admitted.

The last of these was in November 2016, three days after Mr Banks, Leave.EU's communications director Andy Wigmore and the former UKIP leader Nigel Farage met Mr Trump in NY following his election victory. "What's wrong with that?" "If you are trying to sell something or put a good case over to somebody, you will tell the best story", he said. According to Wigmore, she has said: "This young girl said, 'You're British, do you have the telephone number for No 10 Downing Street?"

Mr Wigmore told Mr Collins: "In light of the fact that 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?"

AFTER one of the most irreverent appearances in front of a Westminster committee on record, the two men behind the controversial Leave.EU campaign walked out of a session yesterday to have lunch with two DUP MPs. Collins told the committee that as a result it would not be possible for the committee to explore related areas.

At a contentious Parliament hearing on Tuesday, Banks - whose financial contributions to the Leave.EU campaign are being investigated by the Electoral Commission - struck a defiant tone.

"Perhaps you might want to recuse yourself and let one of the other people take over as chair?"

Mr Collins laughed off the "nice try", saying he was not aware that Mr Abramovich had such a status and commenting: "I didn't meet the owner, I wasn't offered "Stalin's vodka", there were no inducements offered, no shares in goldmines, no honey traps".

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