Former UK Chancellor Philip Hammond’s connections with the crypto startup Copper are facing scrutiny. Documents obtained by the Financial Times reveal interactions between Hammond and UK Treasury officials regarding regulatory concerns raised by Copper, raising questions about potential lobbying activities.
Hammond’s Crypto Startup Connections
Lord Philip Hammond, who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer until 2019, reportedly facilitated discussions between Copper CEO Dmitry Tokarev and then-economic secretary John Glen. These discussions centered on regulatory challenges faced by crypto companies, particularly regarding the pace of regulatory changes.
Concerns over Lobbying Activities
The timing of these interactions is notable, as ex-ministers are typically restricted from engaging in lobbying activities for two years after leaving office, as per the British Advisory Committee on Business Appointments. The revelation has sparked concerns over potential breaches of lobbying regulations during this period.
Response from Hammond and Treasury
Both ex-Chancellor Hammond and Treasury representatives maintain that proper transparency procedures were followed. Hammond defended his actions, stating his involvement stemmed from a shared interest in fostering the UK’s financial services sector, particularly in the realm of fintech. He denies considering his interactions with Glen as lobbying efforts.
About Copper: A London-based Crypto Provider
Copper, founded in 2018, offers custody, prime brokerage, and settlement services to institutional investors trading in cryptocurrencies. The company has garnered significant investment, raising $281 million across six funding rounds from prominent investors like Barclays Ventures and Tiger Global Management.
The scrutiny surrounding Hammond’s ties to Copper underscores the growing intersection between traditional finance and the crypto industry. As regulatory frameworks evolve, stakeholders are increasingly vigilant about potential conflicts of interest and undue influence in policymaking.