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Also see: Bad Boys of Brexit; Nigel Farage; George Cottrell; Ted Malloch; Alexander Yakovenko;
Jump to: 2018;
Undated: Arron Fraser Andrew Banks (born March 1966) is a British businessman and political donor. He is the co-founder (with Richard Tice) of the Leave.EU campaign. Banks was previously one of the largest donors to the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and bankrolled Nigel Farage’s campaign to leave the EU.
Banks credits the success of Leave.EU to their hiring of Goddard Gunster and their subsequent adoption of "an American-style media approach". Banks said, "What [Goddard Gunster] said early on was 'facts don’t work' and that's it. The remain campaign featured fact, fact, fact, fact, fact. It just doesn’t work. You have got to connect with people emotionally. It’s the Trump success."
Links to Russian officials and Donald Trump campaign:
From September 2015, Banks, along with Andy Wigmore, had multiple meetings with Russian officials posted at the Russian embassy in London. In November 2015, Alexander Yakovenko, the Russian ambassador, introduced Banks to a Russian businessman, which was followed by other business proposals on the part of Russians. Banks was offered a chance to invest in Russian-owned gold or diamond mines; the deal involved funding from a Russian state-owned bank, and was announced 12 days after the Brexit referendum. It is not clear if Banks invested.
For two years, Banks said his only contacts with the Russian government consisted of one "boozy lunch" with the ambassador. After The Observer reported that he had had multiple meetings at which he had been offered lucrative business deals, Banks told a parliamentary inquiry into fake news he had had "two or three" meetings. In July 2018 when pressed by The New York Times, he said there had been a fourth meeting. The Observer has seen evidence that suggests his Leave.EU campaign team met with Russian embassy officials as many as 11 times in the run-up to the EU referendum and in the two months beyond.
It has been reported that on 12 November 2016, Arron Banks had a meeting with president-elect Donald Trump in Trump Tower and that upon return to London, Banks had lunch with the Russian ambassador where they discussed the Trump visit.
-- 2018 --
June 10: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/the-email-trail-how-arron-banks-and-andy-wigmore-were-cultivated-fg7tjd87l
June 12: Arron Banks has told MPs probing "fake news" his Brexit campaign had sometimes "led people up the garden path".
But he said politicians were also guilty of spin and claimed Parliament was the "biggest source of fake news".
The tycoon, who spent more than £6m on Leave.EU, said he had faced "absurd" claims of Russian conspiracies.
Media committee chairman Damian Collins said it was "difficult to know" whether to take his evidence - and that of colleague Andy Wigmore - seriously.
According to details of emails reported by the Sunday Times and the Observer, Mr Banks and Mr Wigmore also discussed potential business opportunities in Russia including a proposal involving six gold mines.
Mr Banks attempted to laugh off suggestions of a conspiracy over his meetings with Mr Yakovenko, telling MPs: "I was hoping for a good lunch and that is what I did gain from it."
"The only thing we gave in the second meeting was the telephone number of the (Trump) transition team because the Russians wanted to get hold of the transition team."
September 4: Brexit 'bad boys' Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore fail with fresh bid to join Tories
Backbench MP Andrew Bridgen was trying to help the Leave.EU pair join the Conservative Party via his local association.
November 1: Brexit 'bad boy' Arron Banks faces criminal probe over Leave.EU campaign donations
Trump associate Arron Banks denies any Russian link to his pro-Brexit donations during the 2016 referendum campaign.
British authorities have opened a criminal investigation into a business tycoon over the source of multi-million dollar donations to his unofficial pro-Brexit campaign.
The National Crime Agency — Britain’s equivalent of the FBI — said Thursday it was investigating Arron Banks and other key figures in the Leave.EU movement.
It follows a months-long probe by the country’s Electoral Commission into whether election laws were broken during the 2016 referendum campaign, which saw Britons narrowly vote to leave the European Union.
Banks, a pugnacious admirer and associate of President Donald Trump, was the main bankroller of Leave.EU, a grassroots entity separate from the official Vote Leave campaign.
The insurance magnate has faced questions over his personal wealth and has admitted repeated meetings with Russia’s ambassador to Britain.
The Electoral Commission, which can impose civil sanctions for breaches of election rules, said it had “reasonable grounds to suspect a number of criminal offences” and referred the matter to the NCA.
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