Banking now comes with a trigger warning:
Comply with the trending pet cause of left-wing lawfare activists, or they’ll lobby your bank into closing every account.
Easily the biggest high-profile example of de-banking is now, Nigel Farage.
The champion who liberated the United Kingdom from the overbearing, and obese European bureaucracy, vis a vis Brexit, took to Twitter, and the Telegraph to say that his bank for 40 years was terminating his accounts.
In a six-minute video, Farage said the – undisclosed bank – he’s been with since 1980, and which held his business accounts in the 1990s, was told, “We are closing your accounts.”
No reason was given.
When the jovial British freedom campaigner penned a letter to the chairman asking for more information, a desk jokey replied, “It was a commercial decision.”
Seven banks then followed suit, refusing Farage’s request to open a personal, and business account.
He said, “There’s nothing irregular nor unusual about what I do. The payments go in and come out every month are pretty much the same.”
Sharing that his banking accounts are substantial, Farage suggested this was probably payback.
The “establishment is trying to force me out of the UK by closing my bank accounts.”
“The banks are part of the big corporate structures in the U.K. These are the organisations who did not want Brexit to happen!” he added.
“I think in my case, the corporate world will never forgive me because they know if I, and thousands of others hadn’t done what we did, there would never have been a referendum, let alone a [Brexit] victory.”
Therefore, “I’m the one that is to carry the blame.”
Farage said that politics and prejudice are the two probable reasons for the de-banking.
Being slandered was a third.
“A few months ago, [U.K. Labour’s] Chris Bryant,” accused Farage of “receiving large sums of money directly from the Russian government, and named the calendar year.”
Although the Brexit leader has fiercely denied “receiving money from any source, link or otherwise connected to Russia,” Byrant’s false claim remains intact and incorrect.
There’s been no apology or retraction from the Labour politician with regard to his false accusations.
Thus, Farage concluded, his de-banking was probably political.
After unpacking the E.U’s Financial Action Task Force (FATF) guidance, he’s probably right.
Under the FATF rules on alleged “terrorist financiers,” Farage appears to have been branded a PEP, denied due process, then booted by his bank.
All because a far-left politician smeared his name with unsubstantiated claims in parliament.
A PEP is someone considered by the E.U. to be open to corruption, or open to corrupting those in power.
Defined by the E.U. Committee of Experts handling anti-money laundering and financing terrorism, the term is loose and open to abuse.
Due to the high level of subjectivity, a PEP – or person financially linked to “terrorism” – could be anybody, Farage explained.
FATF recommendations last updated in 2013, state that suspected PEPs are to be given the benefit of the doubt.
However, they “should be treated according to the risk they represent. [Action should be] undertaken to mitigate this risk.”
It is up to the private sector to identify risk, acting on ‘the guidance of state authorities.’
See point 26 of that guidance: “In case the customer is determined to be a domestic/international organisation PEP, then financial institutions…should undertake a risk assessment of the PEPs business relationship.”
This risk assessment includes ‘taking into account’ the political activity of the person, which includes level of influence, reach, and position.
Relevant to Farage’s case, instructions in point 84 states, if a PEP is determined to be high risk, ‘senior management to have a process to actively manage the termination of the business relationship.’
If the de-banking of Farage is linked to the FATF policy and procedures, questions about due diligence arise.
The FATF handbook emphasises the necessity of an organisation carefully looking before they leap.
Farage said he’s got a team of lawyers ready to go, and he’ll be fighting the decision as far as he can go.
If his bank, and the seven others refusing service, overstepped, by acting on the unsubstantiated claims of a political opponent Farage is set for a big legal win.
This is because, as Farage rightly warns, “If they de-bank me, they can do it to you too.”