Arron Banks to face MPs in parliamentary showdown over Russian Federation links

Lawmakers want to question Brexit backer on Russia meetings

Brexit backer Arron Banks to face MPs over Russia claims

"I'm sorry but I'm afraid it is time to go".

According to details of emails reported by the Sunday Times and the Observer, Mr Banks and Mr Wigmore also discussed potential business opportunities in Russian Federation including a proposal involving six gold mines.

Millionaire Brexit funder Arron Banks risked the wrath of MPs today by waking out of his committee grilling because he has a lunch date.

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.

Referring to the London ambassador Alexander Yakovenko, he said: "I've met him and his people in the diplomatic community many times - that's what you do". I was told a certain time and we've got a luncheon appointment we don't want to be late for'.

Laughing, Mr Collins said "nice try".

Banks and Leave.EU communications Andy Wigmore chief quit the hearing as MPs on the Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee attempted to ask further questions at the end of a spiky hearing.

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

"Was that money made used in political campaigning?"

Mr Wigmore asked: "In light of the fact that, according to Guido, 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?"

Asked if he believed there was any attempt by Russian Federation to influence the outcome of the 2016 vote, Mr Banks said it was "possible" but he believed it was confined to a few hackers and computer bots at a "low level".

"I'm not going to be lectured about my business interests". I structure everything legally.

He acknowledged giving the Russian ambassador the telephone number of Donald Trump's transition team before the president won the U.S. election.

Mr Wigmore said that Leave.EU has lodged an appeal after the Electoral Commission found the organisation breached spending rules during the referendum.

The committee is quizzing Banks about his possible ties to Russian Federation, after the Sunday Times said his ties to the country went further and deeper than he had previously disclosed.

He said: "We had a couple of issues in relation to bananas and sugar and the initial conversation I had with this gentleman at the Ukip conference - 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 effect Belize couldn't sell its bananas in places like the United States or the United Kingdom".

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