Bank apologises in joint public statement
Mr Wafic Saïd has discontinued his legal action against Barclays Bank after the bank apologised to him for the way it ended their banking relationship and clarified the basis for its decision. An agreed joint statement was released on 3 June 2016 which included the following:
“Barclays is pleased to confirm that its decision to close the accounts was not based on any wrongdoing in relation to any account activity of Mr Said or any member of Mr Said’s family or any company, partnership or other entity associated with any of those persons, including the Said Foundation and the Said Business School Foundation.”
As reported in March of this year, Mr Saïd had issued a High Court claim against Barclays, with whom he had banked for over 40 years, seeking an order compelling the bank to comply with its obligations under the Data Protection Act 1998. This followed the bank’s failure to provide Mr Saïd with any documents or data explaining its decision to close various accounts connected with him.
Mr Saïd said:
“I am pleased to accept the apology which Barclays has offered and in the circumstances have agreed to withdraw all legal proceedings against the bank.”
The wider issue of `de-risking’ is the banking industry’s response to growing pressure from national and international regulators in relation to sanctions and anti-money laundering rules. This is said to have resulted in risk-profiling and the reportedly unreasonable denial of banking services to, among others, foreign businesses and charities.
Mr Saïd has sought to draw the Financial Conduct Authority’s attention to this issue. The Financial Conduct Authority has commissioned an independent study to research the customers being denied access to banking services.