Nigel Farage’s bank accounts were closed down after Coutts, a company 39%-owned by the taxpayer, decided his views “do not align with our values”, documents obtained by the former UKIP leader show. The Telegraph has the story.
A reputational risk committee ‘exited’ him after considering a dossier detailing Mr. Farage’s comments about Brexit, his friendship with Donald Trump and his views on LGBT rights among many reasons he was not “compatible with Coutts”.
The background briefing paper even made reference to Mr. Farage’s friendship with Novak Djokovic, the former Wimbledon champion, as evidence that he was not as “inclusive” as the bank.
Earlier this month, the BBC and the Financial Times reported claims that the reason Mr. Farage’s accounts were closed was that they fell below the financial threshold required by the bank. The BBC quoted sources “familiar with” the Coutts decision.
Yet in the 40 pages of documents released to Mr. Farage after he made a subject access request to Coutts, the bank repeatedly says he “meets the EC [economic contribution] criteria for commercial retention”.
Writing in the Telegraph, Mr Farage accuses the private bank of “lying” about the real reason he was cut off, saying the documents show that the decision was politically-driven.
He describes the file as a “Stasi-style surveillance report” and notes that the word Brexit appears in the report 86 times – which, he says, “perhaps tells us all we need to know”.
“Between 2014 and 2016, when I first banked with Coutts, no problems ever arose. After Brexit became a reality, everything changed,” he writes.
Minutes of a meeting of Coutts’ Wealth Reputational Risk Committee held on November 17th 2022 state: “The Committee did not think continuing to bank NF was compatible with Coutts given his publicly-stated views that were at odds with our position as an inclusive organisation. This was not a political decision but one centred around inclusivity and purpose.”
Mr. Farage has said Coutts told him he was not being treated as a Politically Exposed Person (PEP) – a legal term for customers who are deemed risky for political reasons – but the dossier specifically states that he is one.
Mr. Farage writes: “Whoever at Coutts thought it clever to feed friendly media outlets outright lies about me sorely misjudged the situation.”
The document contains 39 mentions of Donald Trump, and Mr. Farage said: “The fact that I support Donald Trump is part of this charge sheet.”
It says he is seen as “xenophobic and racist”, repeats claims that he was a fascist in his schooldays, and says he said things in the past that are “distasteful and appear increasingly out of touch with wider society”.
Mr. Farage writes that the dossier “reads rather like a pre-trial brief drawn up by the prosecution in a case against a career criminal. Monthly press checks were made on me. My social media accounts were monitored. Anything considered ‘problematic’ was recorded. I was being watched”.
He is not the only Right-wing figure to have been denied banking facilities. Tory peers have disclosed that their children have been told they cannot have an account after banks made reference to their parentage, and dozens of other people have had accounts closed without explanation.
Mr. Farage writes: “This story is not just about me. You could be next. … if this situation is left unchecked, we will sleepwalk towards a China-style social credit system in which only those with the ‘correct’ views are allowed to fully participate in society.”
The Coutts committee decided to put him on a “glide path” to being ejected, with his personal and business accounts to be closed when his mortgage deal ended this year.
Mr. Farage now says he cannot get an account with any other bank, having been turned down by 10 banks since Coutts withdrew its services.
Members of his family have also been refused accounts by other banks, and one family member was told his or her account was being closed.
Coutts, whose customers include members of the Royal family, is part of NatWest Group plc, which is 39% owned by the taxpayer following the Government bailout of the company in 2008.
Farage tweeted a video about the revelations, saying “I now have evidence Coutts lied to me”.
Worth reading in full.
Toby Young writes: “Not a political decision” – That‘s a very revealing comment and one you hear often from enforcers of woke dogma. Their ‘values’ and ‘purpose’ aren’t ‘political’. Oh no. They’re self-evidently morally correct and anyone who doesn’t share them is completely beyond the pale. I don’t think this is a deliberate sleight of hand. Rather, the way in which the woke mind virus spreads within an institution is that the infected aren’t aware they’re infected; they think they’re well and everyone who doesn’t agree with them is infected. It’s an ideology that is believed by its adherents to be non-ideological, thereby enabling them to enforce it without thinking they’re doing anything ‘political’ and without feeling any corresponding need to defend their actions.
Stop Press: Read about Dame Alison Rose, the first female executive of NatWest, who is responsible for steering the banking group towards saving the planet and embracing equity, diversity and inclusion.