The chief executive of one of Britain’s biggest banks resigned on Wednesday amidst outrage that political commentator and former Brexit leader Nigel Farage’s bank accounts were shut off because of his right-wing views.
Alison Rose, CEO of NatWest Bank, stepped down from her role on Wednesday after admitting she anonymously and inaccurately told a BBC reporter that Farage’s bank accounts were closed entirely for “commercial” reasons, which BBC then ran a story on earlier in July, The Associated Press reported on Wednesday.
Farage obtained documents that indicate his accounts were not shut off due to financial reasons but because of his right-wing views and “support for Trump,” Farage said last week.
According to the documents Farage obtained, Coutts’ private bank – a subsidiary of NatWest – feared the “reputational damage” it would sustain by keeping on Farage as a client, calling him “xenophobic and racist” and “considered by many to be a disingenuous grifter,” according to the AP.
“We acknowledge that the information we reported – that Coutts’ decision on Nigel Farage’s account did not involve considerations about his political views – turned out not to be accurate,” BBC said.
On Tuesday evening, Rose apologized to Farage and admitted she was the source who anonymously gave false statements to BBC about his account closures, and said that speaking to the reporter was “a serious error of judgment,” the AP reported. Initially, NatWest planned to keep Rose on – perhaps with a pay cut – but pressure from the U.K.’s prime minister and the Treasury resulted in her resignation on Wednesday morning, according to Bloomberg.
The bank said Rose’s departure was “by mutual consent.” NatWest shares fell more than 3% on the London Stock Exchange early on Wednesday, the AP reported.
NatWest did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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