NatWest Bank has found itself embroiled in a controversy after internal messages from its employees surfaced, revealing inappropriate comments and gloating regarding the closure of British politician Nigel Farage's bank accounts. The messages also suggested that the closure of his accounts was an attempt to drive him out of the country.
Furthermore, it has been disclosed that the bank's former CEO, Alison Rose, breached data protection laws on two occasions when discussing the closure of Farage's bank account with a journalist. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) determined that Rose inappropriately shared Farage's personal data in an inaccurate manner. In response, the bank's board is set to meet to decide her termination package.
The ICO stated, "We have been clear with the bank that these actions were unacceptable and should not happen again. However, in view of the fact the individual in question resigned her post and the bank has commissioned its own investigation, we do not intend to take any further regulatory action at this time."
Internal messages, obtained through a subject access request (SAR) by Farage, exposed derogatory comments made by NatWest staff in response to the closure of Farage's accounts at Coutts, a NatWest subsidiary. One staff member was quoted as saying, "Hope that knocked him down a peg or two." The messages also insinuated that Farage had "dodgy Russian connections" and described him as a "crackpot" and an "awful human being.
In one instance, after Farage tweeted about the account closure, an internal NatWest email read, "Have you all seen Nigel Farage's Twitter? No one will bank him now. Have we single-handedly driven NF out of the country?"
Nigel Farage strongly condemned the messages, describing them as "vile" and "prejudicial." He also called for the bank to reconsider the £11.3 million payout that the board is expected to approve for Alison Rose, who resigned as CEO amidst the scandal. Farage argued that it is unacceptable for Rose to walk away with such a substantial payout, especially since the British taxpayer owns nearly 40 percent of the NatWest Group.
Coutts closed both Nigel Farage's personal and business accounts earlier this year, with Rose falsely indicating to a BBC reporter that this was due to his failure to meet the bank's wealth threshold. However, a 40-page dossier later revealed that Farage's political views were the actual reason behind the account closure, as they did not align with the bank's values.
NatWest Group has initiated a review of the matter and issued an apology to Nigel Farage for the inappropriate comments and behaviors displayed by its employees. The bank acknowledged that such comments and behavior were inconsistent with the service standards its clients should expect.
The situation has drawn significant attention, prompting a closer examination of the bank's internal culture and practices. It remains to be seen how NatWest will address the controversy and the future of its former CEO, Alison Rose, as the board convenes to make critical decisions.
By fLEXI tEAM