UK man who sells tanks to Ukraine has Barclays bank account shut down
A man is facing bankruptcy after selling a hundred military vehicles to Ukraine.
Nick Mead, 61, runs a company, Tanks A Lot, that collects and restores tanks and armoured cars, and provides driving experience days for military enthusiasts at his Northamptonshire farm.
But after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine last February, he shifted the focus of his business to selling these vehicles to the embattled country’s government.
Through channels legally approved by the Department of Trade and Industry, Mead’s firm would go on to provide dozens of bullet and bomb-proofed tanks to frontline troops.
However, Barclays has since deemed Tanks A Lot to be a ‘high risk’ company.
As a result, Mead, who says he’s been a customer at the bank for more than 40 years, is having his business, savings and online accounts shut down.
The firm had reportedly been doing very well off the back of business with Ukraine, with Mead’s turnover increasing to £8 million in the past year.
Mead has been unable to continue the supply of military goods to Ukraine, and claims he is facing bankruptcy because no other British bank will accept his business.
He added he is currently considering travelling to Singapore if it means he will be able to open a new account, and insists he is not profiting from the conflict.
Mead told The Sun: ‘It made me laugh to see all those politicians in parliament applauding Volodymyr Zelensky after they agreed to send 14 Challenger tanks.
‘I’ve sent 100 vehicles to Ukraine in the last year, including tanks with guns, but a bank is driving me out of business.
‘I’ve been banking with Barclays for 40 years and have never bounced a cheque but they haven’t even got the decency to explain their decision.
‘I’ve been told that I’m on a Russian hit list for the work I’m doing and I’m prepared to accept the risk to help Ukraine defend itself. But banks worry more about the risk to their balance sheets.’
Vehicles supplied to the Ukrainians by Mead prior to his accounts being frozen included: 35 Spartan armoured personnel carriers, 25 armoured Land Rovers and six-wheeler Pinzgauer Vector utility vehicles.
Mead says a letter he received from Barclays’ Leicester Branch informed him his account would close on February 20, but claims it did not go into details as to the reason behind its decision.
A Barclays spokeswoman told the newspaper: ‘Decisions to close customer accounts are only made after very careful consideration and based on all the facts available to us at the time.
‘We apply higher levels of due diligence in order to manage and mitigate risk, especially where third parties are involved.’
This is not the first time Mead’s business has made headlines. In 2017, he purchased an Iraqi army tank on eBay, and later discovered £2 million worth of gold bars concealed inside.
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