UK bank NatWest has denied freezing the accounts of the Russian state-backed news channel RT (formerly Russia Today).
According to NatWest, a letter was sent not to RT itself but to one of RT’s suppliers, and no accounts have been frozen.
RT claims that the “supplier” in question, Russia Today TV Ltd, provides all RT services in the UK.
This development comes after RT management publically stated that its UK accounts had been frozen. On Monday, RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan tweeted: “They’ve closed our accounts in Britain. All our accounts. ‘The decision is not subject to review.’ Praise be to freedom of speech!”
According to a statement by RT, the bank omitted to give a reason for its decision and simply stated that the entire Royal Bank of Scotland Group, of which NatWest is a part, refused to provide banking services to the broadcaster.
On Monday night NatWest appeared to flip-flop on its decision towards Russia Today TV Ltd, announcing that it was reviewing the situation.
This is far from the first time that RT has been at the centre of controversy in the UK since it launched a dedicated UK channel, RT UK, in October 2014. RT has previously been sanctioned by the UK’s broadcasting and telecommunications regulator, Ofcom, for biased reporting.