Farage accuses NatWest of giving data to BBC in official complaint

todayAugust 12, 2023 4

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Farage accuses NatWest of giving data to BBC in official complaint

Nigel Farage has formally accused the NatWest Group of passing his personal and financial data to the BBC.

The former Brexit Party leader has also complained to the Information Commissioner about the way in which his personal details have been handled by NatWest and its subsidiary, Coutts Bank.

A letter from his lawyers to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) mentions a BBC news report which claimed he was losing his account at Coutts because he had fallen below a required £1m threshold.

Mr Farage made a Data Subject Access Request [DSAR] to Coutts to discover why his account was being closed.

He revealed he had received a 40-page document showing he met the “criteria for commercial retention” but Coutts – a bank also used by the Royal Family – wanted him to leave because of his views, which ranged from his position on LGBTQ+ rights to his friendship with former US president Donald Trump.

Mr Farage tweeted on Saturday: “The BBC report gives rise to the inescapable conclusion that NatWest Group provided the media with confidential information (and personal data) regarding my financial affairs.

“This would constitute a serious data breach and, worse still, disregard client confidentiality by the bank.

“My legal team have written to the ICO asking them to investigate and take action.”

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On Friday, the BBC updated its online report on the matter, which said Mr Farage “fell below the financial threshold required to hold an account at Coutts”.

The state broadcaster said: “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.”

It added: “We have amended this article’s headline and copy to make clear that the details about the closure of Nigel Farage’s bank account came from a source.”

The letter from Mr Farage’s lawyers to the ICO states: “The content of the BBC report gives rise to the inescapable conclusion that the bank was providing confidential information comprising Mr Farage’s personal data about his financial affairs to the press, which, on the face of it, would constitute a serious data breach by the bank.”

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The letter adds that following Mr Farage’s data request, the “information that was apparently given to the BBC by Coutts or someone within the NatWest Group was at best incomplete and at worst deliberately misleading”.

It goes on: “The information given to the BBC was also not fully accurate in relation to the offer of alternative banking facilities at NatWest; Mr Farage was only offered an alternative current account, and was not offered an alternative business account.”

Mr Farage has a “sense of profound injustice and concern for wide societal implications of the bank’s conduct”, the letter says.

On Thursday, NatWest Group CEO Dame Alison Rose wrote to Mr Farage to apologise.

The apology letter written to Nigel Farage

The apology letter written to Nigel Farage

But the letter from his legal team to the ICO adds: “Conspicuously, she did not apologise for any information that had been passed to the media citing inadequate finances as the reason for the closure of his accounts.”

Written by: Newsroom

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