Arron Banks Accuses U.K. Lawmakers of ‘Witch Hunt’ to Undermine Brexit

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Arron Banks, who gave millions of pounds to the Leave.EU campaign, claimed that Damian Collins, chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee, was targeting him because he wants to reverse Brexit.

Former FBI director Robert Mueller is now investigating any possible collusion between Trump's 2016 election campaign team and Russian Federation.

He told LBC that Leave.EU did not get Russian money and such claims were "part of a fake news narrative".

Reports in The Sunday Times and The Observer said Mr Banks and his colleague Andy Wigmore, who also appeared before the committee, met Mr Yakovenko in November 2016 to discuss potential business opportunities involving gold mines in Russian Federation.

They have come under scrutiny following reports about meetings with the Russian ambassador to the United Kingdom and discussion of possible investment in Russian gold mines.

Banks and Wigmore, who was also testifying before the committee Tuesday, acknowledged that they handed the telephone numbers of the Trump transition team to the Russians after their visit to Trump Tower.

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.

The two will appear before the Commons culture and media committee on Tuesday to answer questions about alleged Russian involvement in the European Union referendum campaign, having initially pulled out of a hearing on Friday.

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Banks and Wigmore were invited back to meet Yakovenko after they, and Brexit firebrand Nigel Farage, met with Trump in November 2016 shortly after his election.

I get the point that if the Russian ambassador asks you round for a drink you go, but this relationship went on for quite some time.

Asked by a committee member if he had ever accepted money from the Russian government ahead of the referendum, Wigmore replied: "No". "There is no evidence".

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.

Setting out Leave.EU's approach, Mr Banks said: 'We were not above using alternative methods to punch home our message or lead people up the garden path if we had to'.

"Parliament itself is the biggest source of fake news in the country", he added. There hadn't been a Russian witch-hunt (before). "It was when Trump won, there had to be reason he won and Brexit had happened".

Banks was attending the select committee inquiring into fake news, in the aftermath of the leak of a cache of emails belonging to him, Wigmore and others which suggested that his dealings with Russian Federation were far more extensive than previously thought.

He added of Leave.EU's success is campaigning for Brexit: "Referendums are not about facts, it's about emotion and you have got to tap into that emotion". The group operated separately from the official Vote Leave campaign. As for the gold mining project, Mr. Banks said he checked it out and decided not to invest.

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