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CAGE turns to financial ombudsman over forced closure of bank accounts

CAGE turns to financial ombudsman over forced closure of bank accounts

Categories: Latest News

Tuesday October 07 2014

The Guardian draws attention to the involvement of the financial ombudsman in an ongoing dispute between the civil rights organisation CAGE and retail banks Barclays and Co-op.

CAGE, whose outreach director Moazzam Begg was released without charge last week, have suffered a number of setbacks to routine operations following the closure of its bank accounts by Barclays and the Co-op Bank.

Some of the problems stem from Begg’s arrest last year with Treasury officials informing the charity “to remove Begg as a signatory to its accounts so as to ensure it was “not inconvenienced unduly as a result of your connection with him””, according to The Guardian.

The charity complied but maintains that its direct debits and standing orders were halted and the accounts shut by the banks regardless.

CAGE have now turned to the financial ombudsman to intervene in the case after Treasury officials pulled out of a meeting last week to discuss the issue and the banks continue to withhold services without adequate explanation.

The Guardian quotes Rosa Curling, the human rights lawyer representing Cage, who said: “Our client has had no option but to seek the ombudsman’s involvement in their banking affairs. Both Barclays Bank and the Co-operative Bank have closed our clients’ account without good reason. HM Treasury has confirmed our client has never been subject to any financial restrictions under UK law and we can see no reasonable basis for the banks’ decision to close their accounts.

“We are concerned our client’s experience is yet another example of a worrying trend by several banking institutions to close down accounts held by Muslim individuals, organisations and companies in the UK. Such discriminatory practices must be stopped and we hope the ombudsman will now intervene and ensure the banks start to act reasonably and lawfully again.”

Other Muslim organisations that have suffered setbacks due to the sudden withdrawal of banking service include the Cordoba Foundation, Ummah Welfare Trust and the Finsbury Park Mosque.

The Muslim institutions have sought the support of the Chief Executive of the National Council of Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), Sir Stuart Etherington, with whom a meeting was held in August to discuss the impact of account closures on Muslim organisations.

The Guardian also confirms Begg’s intention to sue the Government for his recent incarceration stating that he “plans to bring civil proceedings against the government and the security services”. 


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