As Zelo Street regulars may recall, Arron Banks, the alleged “man who bankrolled Brexit”, got most upset recently when MEP Guy Verhofstadt called him out on Twitter, telling “Europe has a fifth column in its ranks: Putin's cheerleaders who want to destroy Europe & liberal democracy from within: Le Pen, Wilders, Farage, Orbàn, Kaczynski, Salvini use Kremlin money & intel. Like Farage's friend Arron Banks, who colluded w/ Russians to deliver #Brexit”. Banksy wasn’t having any of that. He called in the lawyers.
Moreover, Banksy’s lawyers, given his status, were of the most reassuringly expensive kind. He had instructed Mishcon de Reya. But things were not as they seemed: the letter emailed to Verhofstadt did not follow the pre-action protocol for defamation. Then after Banks and his pal Andy Wigmore made claims of email hacking against Byline Media, who initiated their own legal action, we found that Mishcon de Reya had left the field of play.
They replied to Byline’s lawyers “We confirm receipt of your letters … Please note however that we are not instructed in relation to either complaint”. Worse for Banksy, the Verhofstadt Tweet remained up. The “man who bankrolled Brexit” was bust.
And he may be bust in more ways than one. The Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr pointed out “The ‘millionaire’ who gifted upwards of £9 mil to Brexit, can’t afford to live in his own house. Old Down looks lovely, @arron_banks. Such a shame you have to hire it out for events & live in a cottage on the grounds”. Then it got worse.
Banksy and Wiggy had to resort to crowdfunding their legal costs, which they duly did via their piss-poor Westmonster site. And now has come the formal bad news: Mishcon de Reya is officially no longer acting for Banks, as the Guardian has confirmed.
“Mishcon de Reya, which has acted for Banks since at least 2016, will no longer represent Leave EU as it appeals against the Electoral Commission’s decision in May to fine the group £70,000 in connection with campaign spending offences during the EU referendum” tells the article, with Banks claiming “From a costs point of view, our internal lawyers know the case extremely well because they’ve obviously been making representations to the Electoral Commission”. From a costs point of view, they’ve gone to a cheaper lawyer.
Also, “the Guardian understands Banks and Wigmore have not instructed the firm to represent them against defamation allegations brought in June by lawyers representing journalist Peter Jukes and news website Byline”. That’s a real pity, because right now Banksy and Wiggy could do with a little legal expertise.
Because the Guardian has also told readers “The full details of Russia’s gold deal offer to Arron Banks ahead of the EU referendum are revealed in a leaked document which mentions exclusive ‘opportunities not available to others’ and support from a Kremlin bank … A seven-slide presentation … shows how Banks … was offered the chance of making potentially enormous profits in a deal featuring a Russian gold company”.
Arron Banks - so wealthy he can’t afford to live in his own mansion, who stumped up all those millions in donations and loans, but has now officially lost his expensive lawyer.
Anyone might think he was all wind and piss. And skint. I’ll just leave that one there.
Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by adding to its Just Giving page at