Sat. Sep 23rd, 2023
    UK Watchdog Finds No Evidence of Politically-Motivated Bank Account Closures

    The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has reportedly concluded its investigation into the closure of former UKIP leader Nigel Farage’s bank account at Coutts, stating that there is no evidence to suggest that politicians’ bank accounts are being closed primarily due to their political views. The FCA’s findings contradict Mr. Farage’s claims that his account was shut down because of his views. The FCA examined data from 34 banks and payment companies, covering a one-year period.

    Although no cases were found where political views were the primary reason for account closures, the FCA acknowledges that there were inconsistencies in the available data and plans to conduct further inquiries. Mr. Farage has criticized the findings as “absolutely farcical” and maintains that there are numerous examples of individuals being “debanked” due to their political views.

    The FCA had already been preparing to investigate the issue of “debanking” before the dispute between Mr. Farage and NatWest, the owner of Coutts, emerged. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has called on the FCA to expedite its investigation into the widespread closure of accounts for political reasons. In response, the Treasury has announced plans to impose stricter rules on UK banks when closing customer accounts.

    When Coutts closed Mr. Farage’s account, no reason was given initially. However, Mr. Farage later obtained a document that addressed his suitability as a Coutts customer. The document raised concerns about his “xenophobic and racist” views and questioned the reputational risk of having him as a client. NatWest has ordered an independent review of Mr. Farage’s account closure and other instances of customers losing their Coutts accounts.

    Sources: Financial Times, BBC

    – Financial Times
    – BBC