Hedge fund billionaire and convicted insider trader George Soros believes his involvement in the UK’s Brexit debate is just “political philanthropy,” and told The Guardian that Britain’s continued membership in the European Union would make a defence of ‘European values’ easier to accomplish.
“Brexit is a process of disintegration that hurts both sides. It hurts Britain more on a pro rata basis and Europe more in absolute terms. Most importantly, European values can be better defended if the two of them are united,” Soros said.
“My contributions were not used for partisan or electoral purposes. They were used to educate the British public,” he added, brushing off concerns expressed by numerous politicians that his Open Society Foundations were engaging in meddling in the internal affairs of other countries.
Soros made headlines in the run-up to the Brexit vote in 2016 when he warned that a vote to leave the bloc might cause a Europe-wide economic meltdown and make the EU’s disintegration “practically unavoidable.”
Two years later, the financier garnered controversy in the UK after making a £400,000 donation to ‘Best of Britain’, a group aimed at stopping Britain’s exit from the bloc. Pro-Brexiteers slammed the donation as a “secret plot” and an attempt to stage a “coup…against the democratic will of the people.”
Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit Party and member of the European Parliament, has been one of the most outspoken UK-based critics of Soros, once describing him as the “biggest danger to the entire Western world.”
Britons voted to leave the EU on June 23, 2016, with approximately 52 percent voting in favour of exiting the bloc, while 48 percent sought to remain.
30+ Years of Political Interference
Soros has been spending his fortune on trying to bring forth political and social change for at least three decades, providing cash to anti-communist movements spreading in Eastern Europe in the 1980s in countries including Hungary and Poland, and spending hundreds of millions of dollars on efforts to institute political, economic and institution reforms across Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union starting in the early 1990s, including over $100 million in Russia alone. Since then, his activities have spread to over 60 countries around the world.
Soros was convicted of insider trading by a French court in 2002 and forced to pay a fine of €2.2 million. His conviction was upheld by the European Court of Human Rights in 2011.
On September 16, 1992, Soros successfully staged a run on the pound, forcing the British government to withdraw from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism, and leading to an estimated billion pounds in losses to Britain’s economy. Soros earned his first billion dollars from the day’s events.
Russia banned Soros’s Open Society Foundations in 2015, when the OSF was listed as an organisation whose activities pose a threat to the country’s national security.