Arron Banks quits commitee to go for lunch

14 Junio, 2018, 01:29 | Author: Kelly Blake
  • Russian ambassador Alexander Yakovenko

A major Brexit campaign donor held two previously undisclosed meetings with the Russian ambassador before and after the 2016 referendum and was offered a deal on six gold mines in Russia, The Sunday Times reported.

The paper said the Brexit campaigners subsequently invited Yakovenko and Udod to a drinks party in London's Notting Hill hosted by Banks, and the Russian ambassador was also asked to attend their results party in Westminster.

Having projected the campaign he helped fund as an agent provocateur, Banks abruptly ended the hearing after the expected three hours, complaining he was late for a lunch appointment.

Banks has branded the investigation a "joke" and said it had "fired an arrow into the wall and painted a target around the arrow".

Mr Banks admitted seeing the ambassador twice, and then the mines owner but declined to get involved after being advised it could be "problematic".

Arron Banks, who helped bankroll the Leave.EU Brexit campaign, will face off with MPs about claims he has links to Russian Federation. Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative government has moved to overturn the amendments but the Tories don't have a majority in the House of Commons.

Banks jokingly said Mr. Collins was "conflicted" and should not sit in the meeting, to which he replied, "nice try", without denying taking the gift of tickets to a football game. "I'm afraid it's time to go".

"I can categorically say no, we didn't", Banks said.

Urged to stay for another five minutes, Mr Banks stood and told a startled-looking Mr Collins: "The word is no".

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The questioning began with Mr. Banks pointing out the committee's chair, the strongly anti-Brexit MP Damian Collins, had taken a £1,000 gift off Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, who he called "Putin's number one man in the United Kingdom".

The e-mails also showed that Mr. Banks discussed a potential investment in a Russian gold mining venture with a Russian businessman.

The founder of Leave.EU told MPs on Tuesday that his role in the Brexit referendum was to "set the wildfires burning" by campaigning against immigration.

"I pay a shed-load of tax, probably more than the entire committee put together", he said. He added: "I have no business in Russian Federation, I have done no business deals in Russian Federation". I structure everything legally.

"Clearly that's nonsense", he said.

The chairman of the British Parliament's media committee said on Sunday that a millionaire backer of the successful campaign to leave the European Union has questions to answer about his contacts with Russian officials.

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.

The only information they gave the ambassador was the phone number for the Trump transition team, Mr. Banks said.

Mr Wigmore told the committee he first met Russians to discuss the sale of a banana farm, rather than Brexit.

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