Coutts fires back at Nigel Farage – denies account closed for political reasons
Nigel Farage accuses Coutts of lying over bank closure
Coutts has insisted it does not close bank accounts “solely on the basis of legally held political and personal views” amid the row over Nigel Farage being cut off.
The prestigious private bank has come under high pressure since the former Ukip and Brexit Party leader unveiled a report showing his account was shut because his views “do not align with our values”.
In a new statement, a Coutts spokesperson said: “We recognise the substantial interest in this case. We cannot comment on the detail given our customer confidentiality obligations.
“However, it is not Coutts’ policy to close customer accounts solely on the basis of legally held political and personal views.
“Decisions to close an account are not taken lightly and involve a number of factors including commercial viability, reputational considerations, and legal and regulatory requirements.
“We recognise the critical importance of access to banking. When it became clear that our client was unable to secure banking facilities elsewhere, and as he has confirmed publicly, he was offered alternative banking facilities with NatWest. That offer stands.
“We understand the public concern that the processes for ending a customer relationship, and how that is communicated, are not sufficiently transparent.”
The politician-turned-broadcaster revealed several weeks ago that Coutts had shut his account with no explanation.
This week he obtained a 40-page dossier from the bank, using a subject access request, to gain information about the decision.
The report mentioned his comments about Brexit, his friendship with former US president Donald Trump and tennis star Novak Djokovic, and a perception that he was regarded as “racist and xenophobic”.
The BBC had previously suggested the Brexit campaigner fell below the financial threshold needed to hold an account with the bank for the wealthy, which is owned by NatWest.
The closure of Mr Farage’s account has sparked outrage among politiicans including the Prime Minister.
Rishi Sunak said “this is wrong” and that “no one should be barred from using basic services for their political views”.
The Government is reportedly considering making new laws to stop banks closing customers’ accounts because they disagree with their political views.
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