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IPFS News Link • United Kingdom

Farage 'Banking Ban' Sparks UK Govt Probe Of Blacklisting Accounts Over Political Views

•, by Tyler Durden

Days after Brexiteer Nigel Farage told the world about his experience of having his bank accounts abruptly closed by a major banking group, without a valid reason provided, The FT reports that Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has said the government will take action over banks blacklisting customers who hold controversial views.

As we detailed at the time, Farage claimed that:

"The establishment are trying to force me out of the UK by closing my bank accounts," adding, "this is serious political persecution at the very highest level of our system."

And he cited 3 potential reasons for his apparent blanket ban...

the EU's definition of a politically exposed person (PEP),

prejudice from corporate institutions, and

false allegations made by a member of Parliament regarding funds from the Russian government.

Warning that anyone in Britain could be next, Farage told The Mail this week:

"The banking industry in the UK has become politicised. We are going down a road where anybody in Britain could say something on Facebook or Twitter that a bank doesn't like and lose their accounts."

In response, Chancellor Hunt has asked City minister Andrew Griffith to investigate the practice of lenders closing down the accounts of individuals or companies whose views they disagree with.

"Banks and payment providers occupy a privileged place in society and it would be a concern if financial services were being denied to those exercising the right to lawful free speech,Griffith told the Financial Times.

The Treasury opened a consultation into the matter earlier this year after rightwing commentator and journalist Toby Young complained that the Free Speech Union group he founded had its PayPal account frozen last September.

PayPal did not immediately respond to a request for comment.