Nigel Farage has failed to deny he has too little money to keep an account with the exclusive bank used by the Royal Family.
The Brexit campaigner and former leader of the UK Independence Party last week claimed that a bank – which he has now confirmed as Coutts – had decided to stop doing business with him.
Mr Farage claimed this was due to him being a “politically exposed person”, or PEP.
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The BBC reported this morning that the reason for the withdrawal of services was due to Mr Farage falling below the level of wealth required by Coutts.
According to their website, the boutique financial institution requires clients to have at least £1m in investments or borrowing – including a mortgage – or £3m in savings.
The bank, founded in the late 17th century, has links with the royal family dating back to George III.
Speaking in a video on his Twitter account, Mr Farage said: “They’re telling the press I don’t meet their wealth threshold.
“Well, they’ve never mentioned that before in the previous 10 years.”
Asked by Sky News about the minimum limit, Mr Farage said: “No threshold has ever been mentioned to me. The current position is higher than for much of the last decade. They are hiding behind this.”
Speaking later on the BBC, Mr Farage again did not deny he was below the above-mentioned thresholds for Coutts – but said he had “more money sitting on my current account than I should”, and repeated that the issue of the wealth cap had not been raised before.
The Coutts website clearly indicates to anyone inquiring about becoming a member that there are minimum levels of money required.
Coutts has refused to comment, but it is understood the bank makes decisions about whether to end a relationship on commercial viability, reputational reasons or legal or regulatory requirements.
Mr Farage claims he has now been rejected from having bank accounts from nine different companies – up from the seven he referenced last week.
He admitted in the Twitter video that NatWest, the owner of Coutts, has offered him an account, but only since his initial announcement last week.
This was not of use to him, however, as it was a personal and not a business account.
Mr Farage said: “Yes, the bank that closed me up was Coutts.
“Now they say they’ve offered me a NatWest account.
“That wasn’t until late on Thursday night after I blow the story out there which said that then seven other banks had refused me – that is now nine other banks that have refused me.”
He claimed that Coutts is “frankly being very, very dishonest indeed”.
When it comes to being a PEP, Mr Farage claimed that Coutts said they were not sure if he was still under such a designation.
But after doing a subject access request with credit agencies, the ex-MEP said he has been told he is for both personal and business accounts.
Banks can refuse to take on PEPs as clients, as they require the institution to carry out extra checks to prevent bribes or corruption from being processed through them.
Asked about his next steps, Mr Farage said he wanted there to be a legal right for people to have a bank account in the UK.
He also hinted that he may leave the UK, and potentially move to the US.
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