Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper devoted its front page Thursday to a story accusing the Jewish investor and philanthropist George Soros of running a “secret plot to thwart Brexit,” branding him “the man who broke the Bank of England” in its headline.
The story came days after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu alleged that Soros, a Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor, was funding a widespread campaign against Israel’s plan to deport African migrants.
The Telegraph, staunchly supportive of the plan for the UK to exit the European Union, said Soros has donated £400,000 ($555,000) to a campaign whose purpose was to influence British lawmakers to vote against a final Brexit deal.
The campaign’s director confirmed the report. “Through his foundations he has contributed £400,000,” said former minister Mark Malloch-Brown, chairman of Best for Britain, which advocates for the country to remain in the EU.
The paper said Soros’s “campaign to overturn Brexit” was planning nationwide ads this month “which they hope will lead to a second referendum to keep Britain in the EU.”
But Malloch-Brown defended the campaign, saying it was “perfectly reasonable” that members of parliament should have a chance to think again about going ahead with Brexit.
“There are a lot of people out there who are frustrated,” he told BBC radio, adding, “A majority of MPs are still personally Remainers and yet are about to vote for anything between a hard and a soft Brexit.”
Soros didn’t immediately respond publicly to the report.
Soros, 87, a Jewish US financier and philanthropist, is a favorite bete noire of nationalists around the globe, from the Kremlin to Israel and his native Hungary.
He is a hated figure in Britain for making a billion dollars betting against sterling on Black Wednesday in 1992, when Britain was forced to withdraw the pound from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism.
In a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos last month, Soros predicted that British Prime Minister Theresa May’s spell in power would not last long and said British people were “in denial” about the financial consequences of leaving the EU.
“The current economic situation is not as bad as it was predicted, they live in hope, but as the currency depreciates, and inflation will be the driving force, that will lead to declining living standards,” he said. “It’s going to take some time but when it does happen, they will realize that they are earning less than before, because wages won’t rise as fast as the cost of living,” he said.
On Sunday, Netanyahu told his ministers that “George Soros is also funding the protests,” according to leaks from the meeting carried by Channel 10 and Haaretz, referring to demonstrations against the government plan to deport African migrants to a country believed to be Rwanda or Uganda.
Soros swiftly rejected Netanyahu’s claims, saying he had nothing to do with the campaign.
“Contrary to the false claim by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, George Soros is not funding any protests against Israel’s plan to deport thousands of African asylum seekers,” a Soros spokesperson told Israeli media.
“However, Mr. Soros adamantly believes that, in accordance with the 1951 Refugee Convention and international law, it is wrong to forcibly send asylum seekers back to countries where they might be persecuted or killed,” the spokesperson added.
Last year, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban started a public campaign accusing Soros of orchestrating migration into Europe since the refugee crisis began in 2015 and branded him “a public enemy.”