Goldman Partner Says U.K. Would Be 'Like Cuba Without Sun' Under Corbyn

By Simon Clark Features Dow Jones Newswires

A Goldman Sachs Group Inc. partner made a rare political swipe on Wednesday, calling the weakness of the U.K. government "scary" and warning it could trigger an election win for left-wing opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn that would be a "disaster."

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"If we have Corbyn, we have Cuba without the sun," said Bobby Vedral, a London-based partner at the U.S. investment bank, in a speech at the Super Investor private-equity conference in Amsterdam.

Though rare, the comments mark the latest foray by a Goldman banker into the U.K. political sphere.

Goldman is among a number of international banks preparing contingency plans for when the U.K. leaves the European Union, and has said Frankfurt will be its new EU hub for servicing customers in the region after Brexit.

In October, Goldman Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein tweeted that he will "be spending a lot more time" in Frankfurt after enjoying "great meetings, great weather" in the German City. He added a hashtag: "#Brexit."

Mr. Vedral said a Corbyn government would be disastrous for the U.K. and London's finance industry in particular, because Mr. Corbyn would likely raise taxes on the wealthy, pushing bankers to relocate to the continent.

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He added that the weakness of the Conservative Party--whose leader, Prime Minister Theresa May, lost her parliamentary majority in an election earlier this year and two cabinet ministers in recent weeks--was a greater concern to him than the status of the U.K.'s talks to leave the EU.

"There is a clear risk in my opinion in the next six months of Corbyn," he said. "Now that is a problem."

A spokesman for Mr. Corbyn said, "The next Labour government will transform Britain for the many not the few."

A spokesman for Mrs. May declined to comment.

Morgan Stanley published research this month predicting Mr. Corbyn would win a general election if one were called this year. A Corbyn government would result in a "material risk" of capital flight and higher inflation expectations, according to the research.

"I fully respect him," Mr. Vedral said of Mr. Corbyn. "I think the guy has never changed his opinion in his life--and that's the problem."

Write to Simon Clark at simon.clark@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 15, 2017 12:30 ET (17:30 GMT)