Nigel Farage’s Coutts Bank Account Closed Below Wealth Threshold
Nigel Farage, the former leader of the UK Independence Party and a prominent Brexiteer, has had his bank account at Coutts closed. The closure was a result of Farage falling below the financial threshold required to maintain an account at the prestigious private bank for the wealthy.
Commercial Decision or Political Motivation?
While Farage claims his account was shut down for political reasons and has faced rejections from multiple other lenders, individuals familiar with Coutts’ move have stated that it was a “commercial” decision. The bank’s website clearly outlines the criteria for holding a Coutts account, including borrowing or investing at least £1 million or maintaining £3 million in savings.
Farage Acknowledges Failure to Meet Coutts’ Threshold
Speaking from France, Farage did not dispute the fact that he no longer met the financial criteria set by Coutts. However, he highlighted that this had not been an issue for the past decade, suggesting a recent change in their stance towards his account.
Claims of Political Persecution and Potential Impact
Expressing his concerns on social media, Farage posted a video blaming “serious political persecution” from an anti-Brexit banking industry for the closure of his bank account. He emphasized that losing his account made him feel like a “non-person” and could fundamentally affect his future career and residency in the country.
Lack of Reason Given and Disputed Account Offer
During an interview with BBC Radio 4’s the World at One, Farage stated that Coutts had provided “no reason whatsoever” for closing his accounts and had given him a two-month window to find an alternative bank. Farage also disputed the claim that he was offered a NatWest account when his Coutts accounts were closed, alleging that the offer came only after he made his story public. He further noted that the NatWest offer was for a personal account, not a business account, which he requires due to his income structure.
PEP Status and Ethical Concerns
Farage claims that other commercial banks have rejected his applications, citing his status as a “politically exposed person” (PEP). Financial institutions consider PEPs to pose higher risks due to their potential involvement in bribery and corruption based on their positions and influence. Farage questioned Coutts discussing his financial situation publicly, deeming it unethical. The Treasury has expressed concern over the denial of financial services to individuals exercising their lawful right to free speech and has passed a law requiring the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to review how banks handle politically exposed persons.