Published: Thu, June 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Brexit campaigner Banks says Russian meetings 'no issue' in the past

Brexit campaigner Banks says Russian meetings 'no issue' in the past

He was challenged on a previous claim that Leave.EU had "AI machine learning developed in Bristol by 20 mathematicians and actuaries with input from Cambridge Analytica at the very beginning and then executed by [US political consultancy] Goddard Gunster".

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. "I thought it was interesting", Banks said, referring to the meeting.

The media committee is probing the possible ties to Russian Federation of both Wigmore and businessman Arron Banks who bankrolled the Leave.EU campaign in the 2016 EU referendum campaign. "We'll be in the House of Commons' bar".

Home Secretary Sajid Javid revealed on Monday before Mr Banks' appearance in front of the parliamentary Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee that his Russian links were being examined by ministers from two separate government departments.

"We had two or three meetings with them and it became clear to me that - as is true in a lot of politics - there is a lot of sizzle and sometimes not a lot of substance", he said.

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

Banks reiterated the point on Tuesday and said the claims against him had come from people whom he did not regard as credible witnesses.

The paper said it had seen emails showing he also discussed a potential business deal involving six Russian gold mines with ambassador Alexander Yakovenko after being introduced to him by a suspected Russian spy.

Banks met with Moscow's United Kingdom ambassador three times, but says he did not take Russian money.

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"I pay a shed-load of tax, probably more than the entire committee put together", he said.

"You have to have a sense of humor", Banks said. I structure everything legally.

"I like to think I'm an evil genius with a white cat that controls the whole of Western democracy".

"Clearly that's nonsense", he said.

A millionaire backer of the successful campaign to pull Britain out of the European Union lashed out Tuesday at lawmakers investigating fake news surrounding the Brexit referendum, arguing he was being discredited because of his political views.

"Where's the evidence we took Russian money?"

The only information they gave the ambassador was the phone number for the Trump transition team, Mr. Banks said. Banks told MPs that he went to meet the Russian because had been invited at the prompting of Wigmore, who also acted as a trade envoy for Belize.

He said: "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".

Last week, e-mails surfaced in British newspapers indicating that Mr. Banks and Leave.EU's former communications manager, Andrew Wigmore, met Russian officials several times between 2015 and 2017.

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