Arron Banks’ 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, documents seen by the Observer suggest – seven more times than Banks has admitted. The same documents suggest the Russian embassy extended a further four invitations to Brexit’s biggest funder, but it is not known if they were accepted.
It is the third time the number of such meetings has been revised upwards. For two years, Banks insisted his only contact with the Russian government consisted of one “boozy lunch” with the Russian ambassador.
After the Observer revealed a month ago 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.
Last week, when pressed by the New York Times, he admitted a fourth meeting. But the Observer has seen evidence that suggests there were at least seven more. When questioned about this, Banks offered no response. [Continue reading…]