Brexit campaigner Arron Banks rejects allegations of Russian interference in referendum

Evarado Alatorre
Junio 14, 2018

On Sunday, it emerged that Banks had two more meetings with Yakovenko than he had previously admitted in the book he penned on the referendum battle, 'The Bad Boys of Brexit.' The final meeting with the Russian ambassador was in November 2016, three days after Banks, Leave.EU's Communications Director Andy Wigmore, and ex-UKIP leader Nigel Farage met Trump in NY after he had been elected president.

Responding to questions from the MPs investigating fake news, Mr Banks said: "If the French ambassador called up and asked to meet you for lunch, you'd go".

Asked whether he would campaign again in the event of a second referendum, he said: "If I had my time again, I probably wouldn't have done this in the first place". "I respect your right to disagree with that and I know that you're all Remainers, you have a vested interest in trying to discredit the Brexit campaign".

The hearing came as MPs began a series of key votes Tuesday on the government's main Brexit legislation. Prime Minister Theresa May regularly accuses Russian Federation of meddling in foreign elections, but never includes the 2016 Brexit referendum - in part to avoid exacerbating deep divisions in the party on leaving the EU.

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

The businessman and Brexit-backer said anti-Brexit journalists assumed "there must be a conspiracy" because he and his colleague Andy Wigmore, a diplomat, had lunched with the Russian ambassador, but "there has been no definitive evidence of anything".

Today, he said there were numerous errors in the Guardian's "fake news" reporting of his activities, that is regularly tweeted by Mr. Collins. His only trips to Russian Federation were in October 2014 and March 2015, he said.

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Leave.EU communications chief Andy Wigmore, who was also appearing before the committee, added: "You can join us if you want". You said when you left 20 minutes, and now we've run way past 20 minutes.

He denied improperly using customer data from his companies in the campaign but conceded: "We were not above using alternative methods to punch home our message or lead people up the garden path if we had to".

He also insisted that Leave.EU and UKIP had not worked with Cambridge Analytica during the Brexit campaign and said the "ad agency" did little unusual in the world of political campaigning.

British businessman Arron Banks has courted controversy for years with his outspoken views, generous political donations and passionate support for U.S. President Donald Trump.

"Banks and Wigmore were shamelessly used by the Russians", Oakeshott said in the Sunday Times.

"Where is the evidence we took Russian money". "I like to think I'm an evil genius with a white cat controlling the whole of Western democracy, but that's clearly nonsense".

He also revealed he had lodged a complaint with the Electoral Commission about their investigation into him and Leave.EU, restricting what could be asked by the committee.

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