Farage turns fire on Travers Smith over debanking report

The former UKIP leader Nigel Farage is demanding that a major City law firm discloses information that it holds about him, accusing it of “trying to hide the truth” as he fires another salvo in his debanking campaign.

Sky News has learnt that Mr Farage has filed a data subject access request (DSAR) to Travers Smith, the firm commissioned by NatWest Group last year to investigate its handling of the decision to close his accounts with Coutts, the bank’s wealth management arm.

NatWest originally claimed it had shut the accounts for economic reasons before he forced it to disclose that his political views had been taken into account.

He has since threatened to launch court proceedings against NatWest in a bid to obtain compensation for “reputational damage”.

Dame Alison Rose, the bank’s former boss, stepped down after it emerged that she had inaccurately briefed a BBC journalist about the circumstances of Mr Farage’s debanking.

While the Travers Smith report found that NatWest had been guilty of shortcomings in its handling of the GB News broadcaster’s banking arrangements, he labelled the law firm’s review “a whitewash”.

On Thursday, Mr Farage told Sky News: “The cover up continues.

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“After the whitewash report that contradicted what had been said in the Subject Access Request from Coutts, Travers Smith are still playing games.

“Their findings said that economic reasons were why notice to close the accounts was given, as opposed to my views ‘not aligning’ with the bank’s values.


“We have now requested a DSAR from them.”

Read more:Farage banks on Lloyds in wake of NatWest row‘Serious failings’ in decision to close account, review findsEx-NatWest boss Alison Rose breached data rules, watchdog says

Image: Pic: PA

Mr Farage accused Travers Smith of “trying to delay” the disclosures he has demanded by claiming “that some of the material may be privileged”.

“In legal terms, we dispute this as this was supposedly an independent inquiry and not a legal action.

“I can only assume that they are trying to hide the truth from me.”

Travers Smith said it would not comment.

Sources close to Mr Farage said his legal team had sought copies of all documentary and witness evidence submitted as part of Travers Smith’s inquiry, along with copies of each draft of the law firm’s report submitted to Coutts.

The continuation of his debanking dispute comes as the government prepares to launch a multibillion-pound retail offering of NatWest shares in the summer.

The government owns just under 30% of NatWest, having steadily reduced its stake during the last eight years from – at one point – almost 85%.

The size of the offering and of the discount that will be given to participating investors are among the details which have yet to be determined.

Mr Farage has said that a retail offer to the general public risks being undermined by the loss of trust which has arisen from its treatment of him.

NatWest, which changed its name from Royal Bank of Scotland Group in an attempt to shed the legacy of its hubristic overexpansion, was rescued from outright collapse by an emergency bailout that Fred Goodwin, its then boss, likened to “a drive-by shooting”.

More than £45bn of taxpayers’ money was spent on bailing it out.