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The law firm tasked with reviewing the closure of the account of former U.K. Independence leader Nigel Farage at NatWest and the possible leak of confidential information will miss a deadline this week to complete the work, people familiar with the matter said.

Travers Smith was appointed in late July to lead the independent review following the forced resignation of NatWest chief executive Alison Rose. She admitted she had discussed Farage’s account with a BBC reporter before stepping away.

In the first phase of work, the law firm was tasked with assessing whether NatWest and its private bank, Coutts, had properly handled the closing of Farage’s account and whether the lender had leaked confidential information about him.

The work is expected to be completed in “four to six weeks”, which means a September 8 deadline.

That deadline will be missed, two sources familiar with the matter told the FT. Work is expected to be completed by Sept. 22, one of the people said. Another person said progress could be faster, but it would not be completed this week.

The scale of the work involved was not fully clear when the review was announced “hastily”, the people said. NatWest announced the appointment of Travers Smith on July 28, as the agency struggled to contain the scandal. Senior government ministers have publicly condemned the chief executive of the taxpayer-backed bank over the matter.

The government has also promised a wider review of how banks handle so-called politically exposed figures. The Financial Conduct Authority will issue an update on the status of that work on Tuesday morning.

Travers Smith has interviewed dozens of people about Farage’s account, one of the people said. The interviews examined whether Coutts policies were correctly applied to Farage and why it was determined to close his account, how his case was assessed and the involvement of senior NatWest and Coutts executives.

In July, Farage published an internal Coutts memo in which he said a major reason his account was closed was that his political views were “inconsistent” with the bank’s.

NatWest has committed to publishing the key findings and recommendations of the Travers Smith review after they have been considered by the bank’s board of directors. But the published version may be heavily edited and will be published a few weeks after the report is complete.

Travers Smith has also been contracted to work on a second phase which will investigate Coutts’ account closures over the past 24 months. Completion is expected by the end of October.

Travers Smith did not respond to a request for comment, while Britain’s Treasury, the government arm responsible for banking issues, declined to comment. The FCA said it was “in regular contact with NatWest”.

“We expect the company to work with the review team to produce a robust and comprehensive report, and we understand that good progress is being made,” the regulator said.

NatWest said Travers Smith had informed the bank that it expected the first phase to be completed in seven to eight weeks, rather than six. However, it insisted the revised timetable was not a “significant change”.


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