Former UK Chancellor Under Scrutiny
Lord Philip Hammond, former Chancellor of the Exchequer of the United Kingdom, and a prominent advocate for cryptocurrency, is facing allegations of breaching lobbying rules for former ministers.
Communication with Crypto Firm CEO
In March 2021, Hammond allegedly acted as an intermediary between the then Economic Secretary for the Treasury, John Glen, and officials from the Treasury, and Dmitry Tokarev, the CEO of crypto firm Copper. Documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request suggest that Hammond facilitated communication between the parties.
Interactions Under Investigation
According to reports by the Financial Times, Hammond communicated Copper’s concerns about regulatory changes for crypto companies to Treasury officials. These interactions occurred before Hammond officially joined Copper as a Senior Adviser in August 2021.
Denial and Defense
Hammond denies any wrongdoing, stating that he did not consider his actions as lobbying. He clarified that he did not ask Glen to facilitate a meeting between the Treasury and Copper, deeming it inappropriate. The Treasury also defended its stance, asserting that meetings with crypto firms are routine to better understand the sector and inform policy development.
Previous Advocacy for Crypto Regulation
In June 2022, Hammond publicly expressed concerns about the UK falling behind the European Union in cryptocurrency regulation. Despite the country’s past agility in embracing new technologies, Hammond noted a lack of progress in crypto regulation, attributing it to capacity constraints.
The allegations against Hammond highlight the complexities of interactions between former government officials and private sector entities, especially in emerging sectors like cryptocurrency. As investigations continue, scrutiny over lobbying practices and regulatory compliance intensifies.