UK media tries to spin NatWest’s closure of RT’s British accounts, but facts remain the same
NatWest’s latest comments concerning its bizarre and unexplained decision to close all of RT’s UK accounts, claiming only “one of the suppliers” is affected and the move is under review, have caused some confusion in the British media.
Here are the facts:
On Tuesday, BBC posted an article citing NatWest, which said that “a letter had been sent to one of RT’s suppliers, not RT itself, and no accounts had been frozen.” The channel included RT’s comment on the story, but kept the headline saying that “NatWest denies shutting accounts of Russian TV channel.”
In reality, however, it is misleading to refer to Russia Today TV UK Ltd as one of RT’s suppliers, as RT is the brand name of a global network, and Russia Today TV UK Ltd it is the sole provider of all of RT’s operations in the UK, which includes servicing the salaries of the entire 60+ staff of the RT UK television channel.
As NatWest is Russia Today TV UK Ltd’s sole banking facility, the bank is, in fact, closing banking access to all of RT’s operations in the UK.
The actual situation, as it stands now, is described in the letter from NatWest published by RT, which says that all of Russia Today TV Ltd’s bank accounts will be canceled and closed by December 12, 2016. Moreover, the entire Royal Bank of Scotland Group, of which NatWest is part, is refusing services to RT, according to the letter.
Following RT’s publication of NatWest’s letter, and the massive public backlash to the bank’s decision that followed, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) claimed it was “reviewing” the case, in contradiction to the text in the letter, which explicitly stated that the decision was “final” and that NatWest was “not prepared to enter into any discussion in relation to it.” The RBS also noted that RT’s bank accounts have not been frozen or closed – yet. A number of UK outlets reported this without mentioning the December deadline, while calling the source document “a redacted letter.”