The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK is soon expected to report that it has found no evidence of UK politicians being denied access to bank accounts or other financial services. The review was launched following the Nigel Farage debanking controversy and is set to be released by the end of the week.
The FCA reached out to banks and politically exposed persons (PEPs), which include MPs, peers, leaders of UK political parties, and senior military officers, to gather information for the review. The primary focus of the review was to determine if PEPs were being denied services based solely on their status, which requires increased monitoring due to the higher risk of bribery and corruption they may pose.
According to preliminary findings, there is no evidence to support the claim that PEPs face denial of services purely because of their status. The Financial Times first reported these findings, although the FCA declined to provide an official comment.
The review was initiated by the government earlier this year, with the aim of reducing scrutiny on domestic PEPs in comparison to their foreign counterparts. However, the issue gained more attention when Nigel Farage campaigned against Coutts, the private bank serving wealthy clients, after they planned to close his accounts.
Although Farage initially suggested that the closure was due to his status as a PEP, it was later revealed to be influenced by commercial considerations and concerns surrounding his political views. The incident sparked a discussion about the discretion exercised by banks when dealing with PEPs and eventually became a freedom of speech controversy.
This situation led to the resignation of Alison Rose, the CEO of NatWest, the owner of Coutts, under government pressure, and the subsequent departure of Coutts CEO Peter Flavel due to mishandling the matter. NatWest has now engaged legal resources for a comprehensive investigation set to conclude at the end of October.
– Financial Times