Former UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage will next week launch a formal legal battle with NatWest Group, a major retail and commercial bank, and its former boss Dame Alison Rose. It will demand millions of pounds in compensation over the unblocking scandal, which escalated into a crisis for the state-backed lender. It was reported by the Sky News server.
Sky News has learned that Farage, the former UKIP chairman, has appointed London-based law firm Grosvenor Law to act for him in the lawsuit against NatWest and Dame Alison Rose, who resigned as chief executive in July after admitting that with a BBC journalist discussed her personal banking arrangements.
He is expected to seek a total sum worth millions of pounds for damage to his reputation and to cover legal costs, according to one of the sources. In a statement, Farage said: “For all their lies and fraud against me and the illegal debanking of tens of thousands of innocent people, NatWest and its former CEO Rose must be held accountable.”
The lawsuits are expected to be filed just days after NatWest confirmed it was canceling most of Rose’s potential severance package of more than £10m. She also said that “no wrongdoing has been found” against her, so she is entitled to a payout during her 12-month notice period, which is expected to be around £3.2m.
Farage wrote on the X social network that he had “commissioned lawyers to take action against the NatWest group” and that he would “seek to make this a class action as a lot of other people have been harmed”.
A report commissioned by the bank from law firm Travers Smith concluded that the decision to close his accounts with Coutts was lawful, but that there had been “serious misconduct” in the way the bank had dealt with him. Farage called the report an “allegation” and called on the Financial Conduct Authority to take further action against NatWest.
The Information Commissioner’s Office, which is responsible for regulating data protection, was forced to issue an apology to Rose this week after suggesting she had personally breached data protection laws when she spoke to a reporter about Farage’s banking deals. In reality, she was only investigating the actions of the bank.
NatWest, which is less than 40% owned by British taxpayers, was rescued with a £45.5 billion bailout in 2008 when the banking sector was on the brink of collapse. The bank’s shares have fallen sharply in recent months as it grappled with the fallout from the Farage dispute and disappointing quarterly results. Over the past year, its shares have fallen by almost a fifth.
In the summer it emerged that Coutts staff had disparaged Farage, who now works for GB News, making a series of derogatory comments about his political views and finances.
Rose gave the impression that the decision to exclude him was essentially a business one. The bank apologized to Farage last month, while Rose distanced herself from the views of Coutts staff, calling them “very unpleasant and unfair”.
The decision to “debank” Farage caused a storm in Westminster, forcing the city’s watchdog to urgently review the practice across Britain’s banking sector.
Dame Alison Rose, who was the first woman to head one of Britain’s major banks, has been temporarily replaced by Paul Thwaite, who previously headed its trading department. Although she and her fellow board members had hoped the original apology in July would save her place, her exit was sealed within hours as Downing Street signaled it had lost confidence in her leadership.