Interpal asks Bank of England to provide services

Palestinian aid charity has no clearing bank after Lloyds TSB refused to process payments

Interpal, the Palestinian relief charity, has asked the Bank of England to provide it with banking services after Lloyds TSB and other clearing banks refused to process its international money transfers.

Lloyds TSB stopped processing Interpal's transfers at the end of last year (10 December, page 4). It said the decision was prompted by Interpal's designation as a terrorist organisation in the US, where Lloyds TSB does business.

Earlier this year, a Charity Commission inquiry found no evidence that Interpal had funded terrorist groups).

Ibrahim Hewitt, chair of Interpal, told Third Sector the charity had been unable to find an alternative clearing bank and had asked the Bank of England to provide it directly with banking services. He said the bank did this for scientific research company Huntingdon Life Sciences when animal rights extremists threatened the staff of any bank that dealt with it.

But a Treasury spokesman dismissed the idea. "The onus now rests with Interpal to confirm it is acting on all the Charity Commission's requirements, and to investigate the full range of options available to it to minimise any adverse impact on good causes," he said.

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