Key Brexit figure and Nigel Farage ally Richard Tice had a loan rejected from a major bank because it deemed him a “reputational risk” for being the leader of the Reform UK party, a financial document has shown.
The Reform UK party leader Richard Tice has claimed he was debanked because of his political views after he applied to Swiss Re for a business loan in April last year.
An internal document, seen by The Epoch Times, shows that Mr. Tice’s company Quidnet Capital was rejected as he was a “reputational risk.”
Mr. Tice, who submitted a subject access request to get the documents, said the revelation was “shocking” to The Epoch Times.
Speaking to The Sun on Sunday, Mr. Tice said: “This is one of the reasons we are struggling to grow as an economy—because people and businesses are being weighed down by all this bureaucracy and it is all down to wokeness.”
Founded by Nigel Farage, Reform UK was formerly the Brexit Party.
Earlier this year, Mr. Tice told The Epoch Times that his commercial mortgage was refused last year because of his outspokenness on net zero policies, which went against the lender’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policy.
ESG investing is used to screen investments based on corporate policies and to encourage companies to promote “sustainable practices.”
Mr. Tice, who is also a real estate businessman and Talk TV host, also found himself on the wrong side of ESG when his commercial property mortgage application was rejected over his views on net zero. He did not name the financial institution.
“My business activities are around commercial property, and I was renegotiating my commercial mortgage about half a year ago and the terms agreed new lender was all sorted,” Mr. Tice said at the time.
A Swiss Re spokesperson told The Epoch Times by email that as a matter of policy, it “does not comment on specific investments.”
Mr Tice’s “debanking” comes only a month after Nigel Farage said that the prestigious bank Coutts he has been with for over 40 years has closed his account with “no explanation.”
He said that he had been persecuted for his views, which was later revealed in a 40-page memo by the bank’s Wealth Reputational Risk Committee.
The document cited that he reshared a tweet by the comedian Ricky Gervais mocking transgenderism, which the document called “a transphobic comedy sketch” as well as his friendship with tennis player Novak Djokovic, who declined to get COVID vaccinations. It also said that Mr. Farage is “xenophobic and racist.”
The document cited Brexit 86 times, Russia 144 times, and PEP ten times. His support for former President Donald Trump as well as his views on immigration, net zero, and the COVID-19 vaccine are listed as reasons to exit him.
Eventually, Alison Rose, chief executive of NatWest Group, of which Coutts is part of the wealth management division, wrote to the former Brexit Party leader Mr. Farage to apologise for “deeply inappropriate comments” made about him in official documents.
Financial Services Denied For Lawful Free Speech
The British government waded into the row and said that it is in the process of cracking down on financial services being denied to anyone exercising their right to lawful free speech.
During Prime Minister’s questions in July, PM Rishi Sunak said it “wouldn’t be right” for financial services to be denied for lawful free speech.
Mr. Sunak said: “It wouldn’t be right if financial services were being denied to anyone exercising their right to lawful free speech.
“Our new Financial Services and Markets Act puts in place new measures to ensure that politically exposed persons are being treated in an appropriate and proportionate manner.
“Having consulted on the Payment Services Regulations, we are in the process of cracking down on this practice by tightening the rules around account closures.
“But, in the meantime, any individual can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service, which has the power to direct a bank to reopen their account.”