Law firm Travers Smith has this morning released its two-month-delayed report into the Farage debanking scandal, which parrots NatWest’s defence by saying the decision to debank him was a “commercial” one. It argues the “serious failings” were only in how it was communicated. Farage says he isn’t surprised seeing as Travers Smith’s emeritus chair is an anti-Brexit lawyer who described the referendum debate as “xenophobia, racism and nostalgia“. Foregone conclusion…
The report does reveal Coutts thought Farage was causing “reputational harm” and that his “stated beliefs” were against those of the bank. It claims that didn’t drive the decision despite the word Brexit turning up 86 times in documents about his removal and employees gloating about knocking “him down a peg or two“. The report also states Farage was re-designated as a “Politically Exposed Person” despite NatWest executives claiming he had no PEP status at all. Poor comms strategy…
Farage says it’s up to the Information Commissioner’s Office and industry regulator the FCA to look into this now. NatWest shares are down 16% today. When regulators come, investors go…
Read Farage’s full statement on the report below:
“The long-anticipated Travers Smith report has whitewashed the decision to close my accounts at Coutts Bank. This comes as little surprise to me given Travers Smith’s Emeritus Chair, Chris Hale, is a pro-Remain lawyer who once described Brexiteers as racist and xenophobic.
The report’s authors claim it was “predominantly a commercial decision” to close my accounts but, crucially, they also noted that evidence given to them by witnesses in relation to this episode was not entirely consistent.
Travers Smith has taken a very mealy-mouthed approach to this complex issue. The law firm argues that my political views “not aligning with those of the bank” was not in itself a political decision. This is laughable.
Worse still, Travers Smith did not find “any evidence” that my “pro-Brexit stance were factors in the Exit Decision”. The word Brexit appeared no less than 86 times in my Subject Access Request. What planet are they are living on?
Interestingly, though, Travers Smith has revealed that in an effort to justify the decision to exit me, my status as a Politically Exposed Person, which had been revoked in 2022, was reinstated by the NatWest Group to bolster their exit plans. This despite being told by Camilla Stowell, head of private clients at Coutts, that I did not have PEP status at all. Clearly, the bank’s response to this was haywire.
To compound matters, the letters that were sent to me confirming the closures of my accounts without explanation were sent on a paper headed template usually reserved for those suspected of fraud.
All this says so much about the culture created by Alison Rose, who has now been found by the ICO to have breached my privacy during this scandal – something this report fails to mention at all.
The Travers Smith report is inconclusive and ignores the elephant in the room. What really matters now is the next steps that the ICO takes and, perhaps more importantly, what the FCA, the regulator of this industry, does about this scandal”.