British Treasury Dept Denies Ordering Closure of RT Bank Accounts

State-Owned British Bank Decided to Do So Unilaterally, Officials Insist

by Jason Ditz, October 17, 2016

Russian state-funded television outlet Russia Today (RT) announced earlier today that it has received a notice from Britain’s NatWest bank that its bank accounts are going to be closed. The notice did not provide an explanation, but did say that the decision was not subject to any review.

RT accused the British government of being behind this, though the British Treasury Department has insisted that they had no role in the decision. That NatWest is owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland, itself overwhelmingly state-owned, makes it difficult to argue this was a decision totally independent of the British government.

RT reported that a number of Russians have been having their accounts suspended by the “compliance offices” of British banks without any explanation recently, with the implication being that the recent Western tensions with Russia are fueling such moves.

Several Western officials have been harshly critical of RT, accusing it of being a “propaganda network.” During tensions between Russia and Western countries, officials often call for moves against RT as a way to retaliate against the Russian government for perceived slights.

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