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NatWest Closes Russian Company’s UK Account

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In a move that has infuriated many in Russia, NatWest bank has closed the UK accounts of a Russian TV station. The State-run broadcaster, RT, broke the news to their followers at home. The surprise move came with apparently no warning and no explanation. The Editor-in-Chief of RT (formerly Russia Today), Margarita Simonyan took to twitter to reveal the decision “They’ve closed our accounts in Britain. All our accounts. ‘The decision is not subject to review.’ Praise be to freedom of speech!” The sanction isn’t just by NatWest, but also by its parent company, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Group. The account closure extended to senior staff of the broadcaster based in UK. According to RT, the only explanation they got was this statement “We have recently undertaken a review of your banking arrangements with us and reached the conclusion that we will no longer provide these facilities.”

Simonyan said they will fight the decision and at least demand a proper explanation. When addressing state media, she said “They haven’t explained the reasons and I think they can’t explain them because there can’t be any reasons. We have an absolutely transparent operation there, absolutely transparent funding. There have never been any complaints in this regard at all. They have failed to defeat us by simply vilifying us, by picking on our broadcast, so they decided to try the banking flank: ‘Try broadcasting when all your accounts have been closed.’ Yet we will try.” While her tone suggests a political angle, others believe it may be as a result of the broadcaster constantly breaking Ofcom rules. The regulatory body in the U.K. has often found them guilty of biased-reporting, possibly due to their political affiliation. MPs in Russia said they are demanding answers from the British parliament. No other Russian agency based in U.K. has had any similar troubles.