MPs to question leading Brexiteer Arron Banks over Russia links


He called for Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee chairman Damian Collins to step down from leading the inquiry because he accepted hospitality from Chelsea football club, which is owned by Roman Abramovich. "It was when Trump won, there had to be reason he won and Brexit had happened".

Arron Banks, the outspoken founder of the campaign, faced almost three hours of questioning by British lawmakers probing the spread of misinformation online. Banks lodged an appeal against that decision on Tuesday, and the MPs said they would not ask Banks about the case given the ongoing legal process.

The millionaire entrepreneur also dismissed allegations by whistle-blower Brittany Kaiser, who said he had illegally used personal data belonging to clients of his insurance companies Eldon and GoSkippy for the Brexit campaign.

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.

He accused the select committee investigating fake news in British politics of a "witch hunt" and siding with anti-Brexit campaigners seeking a second ballot on European Union membership.

Asked if there was any Russian money given to Leave.EU, Mr Wigmore insisted: "No, not one penny or one rouble".

Mr Wigmore told MPs he first met Russians at a Ukip conference and in his role as diplomat for Belize he was seeking investors to help the small South American country sell its bananas. "It all really comes from two witnesses that really do lack credibility", he said, adding that Leave.EU did not hire Cambridge Analytica.

In May, Leave.EU was fined £70,000 by the Electoral Commission for breaking spending rules during the referendum. The group's ads were seen by many as divisive and fear mongering. The piece of advice that we got, right from the beginning, was remember referendums are not about facts, it's about emotion and you have got to tap into that'.

The newspaper reported Banks traveled to Moscow at the height of the Brexit campaign, and that he was offered a business deal involving six Russian goldmines.

The men then met Mr Paisley - who had been present during some of the session - and Mr Wilson for lunch in a Commons restaurant.

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.

Arron Banks, one of the self-described "bad boys of Brexit", said he has no business interests in Russian Federation and there was no evidence of a conspiracy connected to Britain's vote to leave the European Union. His three children are also dual citizens, he added. However, the House of Lords has passed 15 amendments to the legislation that would weaken the Brexit process by keeping the United Kingdom within the EU's customs union and give parliament more of a say over the final arrangement with the EU.

He tweeted a picture of the group - along with fellow DUP MP Sammy Wilson - on the House of Commons terrace.