Brexit funder Arron Banks walks out of MPs' questions for lunch date

Arron Banks Tells MPs He Is 'Not An Evil Genius' Who Controls The West

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".

The 52-year-old, who was one of the UK Independence Party's largest donors, met ambassador Alexander Yakovenko three times between 2015 and 2016. It would be nice.

I was told a certain time and we've got a luncheon appointment we don't want to be late for'.

On Friday, Banks had criticised members of the committee for being biased against Brexit, and pulled out of the hearing, before reversing that decision after the Sunday Times article. However, he changed his mind after newspapers revealed over the weekend two further undisclosed meetings with the ambassador.

Writing in today's Daily Telegraph, Mr Banks claims that "hysteria around all of this has been whipped up" because of his evidence today to the committee over his contacts with Russian officials before and after the 2016 European Union referendum.

He lashed out at politicians, the media and Chris Wylie, the Canadian whistle-blower at the centre of the controversy surrounding United Kingdom -based Cambridge Analytica and its use of personal data from more than 80 million Facebook accounts during the USA presidential election campaign.

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. He added: "I have no business in Russian Federation, I have done no business deals in Russian Federation".

Cambridge Analytica whistle-blower Ms Kaiser had previously told the committee that data had been misused between Leave.

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At a contentious Parliament hearing on Tuesday, Banks - whose financial contributions to the Leave.EU campaign are being investigated by the Electoral Commission - struck a defiant tone.

The disgraced data-mining company Cambridge Analytica, which was accused of illegally harvesting Facebook profiles to sway the U.S. election and the Brexit vote, pitched for work with Leave.

On Tuesday, Mr. Banks hit back at suggestions Russian Federation interfered with the referendum.

"I can categorically say no, we didn't", Banks said.

Giles Watling, a Conservative MP on the committee, asked Banks: "I'd like to move on to big scary Russian Federation".

He said he did discuss his insurance businesses with Cambridge Analytica, as well as politics, but said there was no conflict in that and reiterated that data from his insurance firms was not used by Leave.EU.

"This whole fake news narrative stated to roll from it".

Banks said he had been happy to "lead people up the garden path" in order to generate headlines. "It's about emotion, and you have got to tap into that emotion". "The reason I went into the referendum was I have a different version of what the future of this country is".

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