Multi-millionaire businessman and political donor Arron Banks was a no-show at the opening ceremony for the Rio Olympics, despite multiple sources claiming he would attend to as part of the team representing Belize.
One source had even claimed that Banks, who is British, might be the flag bearer for the central American nation.
(This story has been updated.)
The businessman is best known in political circles as a prolific donor and opponent of the European Union. In 2014 he defected from the Conservatives to Eurosceptic party UKIP with a massive £1 million donation. In the run up to the referendum on whether Britain should leave the European Union, he spent millions of pounds of personal funds on Leave.EU, the anti-EU campaign group.
Jack Montgomery, a spokesperson for Leave.EU, had said via email that Banks will “be part of the opening,” though he couldn’t confirm the claim that he would be flag bearer. Business Insider had reached out to Banks but did not receive a response.
Sources said that the businessman, who is worth up to £100 million, was due to be joined in the Belize opening team by Andrew Wigmore — the Belizean former head of communications for Leave.EU — who is representing Belize in shooting at the Olympics . Wigmore is ranked 274 out of 274 in the world.
However, Wigmore did not appear to be in the opening ceremony either.
The donor is British, grew up in South Africa and England, and lives near Bristol in South-West England.
But he does has links to Belize: The Guardian reported in March he is a “close friend” of Wigmore, who is also a Belize diplomat, and has thrown fundraising events for a Belize children’s hospital.
UPDATE: This story has been updated to reflect the fact that Banks and Wigmore did not appear to attend the opening ceremony, despite what we had previously reported. This raises the question of why multiple unconnected individuals linked to Banks — including a spokesperson for his own campaign group — thought he would be there. Business Insider regrets the error.
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