Thursday, April 30, 2009

UK Banks Banning Iranian Customers?

I heard something interesting tonight while dining with friends. I haven't got the time today to follow this up, but a financial journalist might wish to do so. I was told that America banks are withdrawing all facilities from Iranian customers, and unilaterally closing their accounts with no prior consultation. But more to the point, British banks have started to do the same. One Iranian national, who has been a customer of the Royal Bank of Scotland for thirty years, was told his account was being closed. There was no explanation beyond him being told that it was now bank policy to withdraw all banking facilities from Iranian related accounts. This is, I am told, also happening in other UK banks. And it's being dictated by the US government - or so it is alleged.

I'll be interested to see if readers can shed any light on this development.

24 comments:

Richard Abbot said...

This conflicts with the advice given to my business by UK Trade and Investment which encourages export relations with Chile, Czech Republic and Iran. Interestingly they also advocated trading with Iceland until recently so what do they know!!

Anonymous said...

Gosh ! Where will Omid Djalili stash all his loot from the BBC and his stand-up DVD sales ?

Anonymous said...

Sorry this is in the wrong place. But, with regard to 'whose words are these', Ms Blears might like to reflect that on March 26th I applied for a job very close to her constituency. I was fortunate to be short-listed for the position and will know next Tuesday if I have been successful. I was informed at the interview that over 700 people applied for it. I'll just repeat that ... OVER SEVEN HUNDRED!

Irfan Ahmed said...

Iain read my blog post: http://www.irfanahmed.org/2009/04/iranian-and-muslim-customers-being.html and you will get a more inside look into the case

Dick the Prick said...

That's kind of mad. I can perfectly accept that the accounts should be located and flagged should the storm clouds get larger so that they can be instantly closed/frozen but won't this just incentivise alternative, less controlled and dodgier deposits?

Seems a bit bloody stupid frankly. Geez, is the world run by blithering idiots? Err... I'll get me hat.

Roger Thornhill said...

If true, this is another reason why Nationalisation is such an evil thing and why the Government and their agents are still trying to push the State coin upon Barclays and HSBC to get their fingernails in.

We need Free Banking. We need banks and other entities to have the right to issue their own currencies. Monopolies almost always bring about bad behaviour.

no longer anonymous said...

The Iranian people are not the problem, their government is. That article by Peter Hitchens on Iran you linked to way back is very enlightening in this respect.

Thats News said...

Oh. So this'll be the 'special relationship' at work then, huh?

Business as usual.

Incidentally, I think I think I might know what Derek Draper's next Labour Party job could be...
http://thatsnews.blogspot.com/2009/04/oops-cheats-never-prosper-labour-mps.html

Jock Coats said...

If so what an extraordinary (though not entirely surprising) piece of stupidity. Presumably most "Iranian related" people with western bank accounts are precisely the ones we should be supporting, if any, as they are likely to be reaosnably well off and most likely not supporters of Mr Dinner Jacket.

Or maybe in the NWO we are acting to close his tax exiles down too?

Demetrius said...

This might have more to do with the current financial difficulties being experienced by certain Iranian property magnates involved with RBS. They may survive and pull through but it is one of the deleveraging situations working its way through the system.

Oldrightie said...

Surely such a racially motivated effort would not happen under St. Obama's watch?

Paul Halsall said...

Always keep an eye on Ha'aretz, even between mideast crises. The Israeli right (which is not a clear majority) are desperate for an attack on Iran.

Hawkeye said...

Surely it would more sense to flag the accounts and watch them for suspicious activity.

If they are held elsewhere then you have lost a potentially valuable source of intelligence.

Alex said...

The US has had an embargo on most trade between US citizens, US companies and their non-US subsidiaries and Iranian entities donce the Iranian hostage crisis, including the provision of banking services.

The US is trying to impose the same regime on banks that do business in the US, which in practice means all large banks.

The problem for UJ resident Iranians is that any dollar payment that they make is likely to be cleared through the correspondent banking system in New York.

If Rafsanjani Pistachio Traders make a dollar payment from their account with Barclays to Mr Azeri's Shipping Company's dollar account at SocGen in Paris, a payment will be made with instructions to credit and debit inter-bank accounts in New York referencing Iranian payment instructions, which could lead to the funds being confiscated by the US authorities and both banks being penalised.

Anonymous said...

Its to do with sanctions on Iran.
Lloyds bank was find in January
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/africa/article6193785.ece

because Iranian "individuals" bank accounts where being used to aid Iran trade and shift cash around the world, busting US sanctions.

If your friend, after spending 30 years in the had elected to take dual citizenship (and thus insure his children have to pay UK tax) he wouldn't have the problem.

Its simple - Pay UK tax - get treated like a UK citizen. Don't pay the tax - don't bloody whinge.

badman said...

If true, this is illegal under section 20 of the Race Relations Act 1976. Section 20(2)(c) expressly applies the anti discrimination legislation to providers of banking services. Section 3 prohibits discrimination on the grounds of race, nationality or ethnic or national origins.

Unsworth said...

Anon 11:12AM

Apart from being unable to spell 'fined', 'were', 'ensure' and 'it's', you're suggesting that being treated like a UK 'citizen' is a good thing.

Frankly I wouldn't inflict that on my worst enemy. Look what has happened to this country over the past decade, what with people unable to leave school being able to spell, punctuate or even speak properly, apparently.

Thats News said...

Troubel is Badman, US Interests trumps UK law.

Chalcedon said...

This isn't surprising. I know that many European clearing and investment banks were told to stop working with Iranian banks and to close any branches they had there. It was in the MSM at the time. 2 years or so ago. News though that Iranian customers based over here are being shunned like this.

Philip said...

The problem is that our high street banks are also international banks and the only way they can use dollars is to operate in the US. There they are subject to stringent laws about dealing with Iran which most of them haved breached. I think Lloyds was fined hundreds of millions of dollars for breaches and there are more to come.( Apologies if I have the wrong bank)

I doubt the US laws strictly cover Iranian residents in the uK but I can understand why the UK banks are playing safe.

Gege said...

i work in banking and can confirm that all iranian accounts are being closed. the only exceptions are those with british passports.

Anonymous said...

I was just waiting for some "anti racist" leftie to blame the Jews for this, in an entirely non anti-semitic way of course, and am glad that Paul Halsall didn't disappoint!

Span Ows said...

Anyone trying to deal with Iran knows how difficult it is; this is clearly just another step down the road to total isolation.

lilith said...

Now they are closing the bank accounts of British businesses that TRADE with Iran....