The Implications of Bank Discrimination Based on Personal Views: A Deep Dive into the Nigel Farage Case and Its Potential Impact on Digital Currency

In recent times, we have seen a surge in cases where banks have closed accounts without providing a concrete reason to the account holder. A notable example is Nigel Farage, a British politician and broadcaster, who had his bank accounts closed without any clear explanation. This has raised serious questions about the power banks hold and the potential for discrimination based on personal views.

The Nigel Farage Case: An Overview

Nigel Farage, known for his strong political views, found himself in a predicament when his personal and business bank accounts were abruptly closed. The banks’ actions were within their rights, as outlined in their terms and conditions and various pieces of legislation. However, these laws primarily pertain to situations involving money laundering or suspicious activity, neither of which Farage was accused of.

The banks’ decision to close Farage’s accounts could be seen as a risk management strategy. Farage, being a politically exposed person, could potentially bring the bank into a risk category due to his political views or affiliations. However, the lack of transparency and explanation from the banks has led to speculation about the true reasons behind their decision.

Discrimination or Risk Management?

While banks have the right to close accounts for various reasons, including potential risks associated with the account holder, the line between risk management and discrimination can often blur. A recent case involving the Yorkshire Building Society highlights this issue. The Society admitted to severing ties with a client who questioned the use of Pride Flags in their branches, stating that they would close a savings account if a customer was “rude, abusive, violent, or discriminates in any way.”

However, what constitutes “discrimination” can be subjective. What one person views as a discriminatory statement, another might see as a philosophical belief worthy of protection. This brings us to the landmark case of Maya Forstatter.

The Maya Forstatter Case: A Precedent for Protection of Philosophical Beliefs

The Maya Forstatter case serves as a significant precedent in the discussion of philosophical beliefs and their protection under the Equality Act. Forstatter, a researcher, was not offered a renewal of her contract after tweeting about proposed reforms to the Gender Recognition Act. Her tweets, which expressed her belief that individuals cannot change their biological sex, were deemed ‘gender critical’.

Initially, Forstatter’s beliefs were not considered worthy of respect in a democratic society. However, upon appeal, the Employment Appeal Tribunal overturned this decision, creating a legal precedent that protects beliefs about sex and gender identity. This ruling means that individuals should not face discrimination or harassment at work or when using a service because of their beliefs.

Implications for Banking

When we apply the precedent set by the Forstatter case to the banking sector, it raises some interesting questions. If a bank were to close an account based on a customer’s gender-critical views, it could potentially be seen as discriminatory. Given that these views are now protected as philosophical beliefs under the Equality Act, the bank could be liable for damages.

However, the situation becomes more complex when we consider the bank’s obligations under money laundering regulations. Banks are prohibited from ‘tipping off’ a customer if they suspect that their account is being used for money laundering or other fraudulent activities. This means that if a bank closes an account for these reasons, they cannot disclose this to the customer.

If a customer were to bring a claim for discrimination against the bank, believing their account was closed due to their political views, the bank would face a difficult decision. They would either have to assert that they had legitimate reasons related to money laundering or fraud, which they could not disclose, or admit that they disagreed with the customer’s political views, which could potentially be seen as discriminatory.

The Future of Digital Currency

The move towards digital currency could potentially exacerbate these issues. With digital currency, control over your money is almost entirely in the hands of the banks. If a bank decides to close your account, you could lose access to your funds almost instantly. This could have serious implications, particularly for those who hold views that their bank may disagree with.

While digital currency offers many benefits, it also presents new challenges. As we move towards a more digital world, it’s crucial that we consider the potential implications for freedom of speech and discrimination.


The cases of Nigel Farage and Maya Forstatter highlight the potential for discrimination based on personal views within the banking sector. As we move towards a more digital world, it’s crucial that we consider the potential implications for freedom of speech and discrimination. Banks must strike a balance between managing risk and respecting their customers’ rights to hold and express their beliefs.

While the law provides some protection, it’s clear that more needs to be done to ensure that individuals are not unfairly targeted because of their beliefs. As we move towards a future of digital currency, these issues will become even more critical. It’s crucial that we continue to discuss and address these challenges to ensure a fair and inclusive banking sector for all.

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[1] Yorkshire Building Society admits it closed account after customer questioned use of Pride flags

[2] Maya Forstatter v CGD Europe and others

Note: This blog post is based on a video from the Blackbelt Barrister YouTube channel. You can watch the full video here.