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Pro-Brexit MP sets up Irish fund to avoid 'uncertainty'

© AFP/File | British Conservative politician Jacob Rees-Mogg is a leading pro-Brexit campaigner

LONDON (AFP) - 

A financial firm co-founded by Jacob Rees-Mogg, a leading pro-Brexit lawmaker, has set up an investment fund in Ireland and warned prospective clients about the dangers of a hard Brexit, British newspapers reported on Thursday.

Rees-Mogg's Somerset Capital Management (SCM) launched the new fund in March, aiming it at international investors who want to keep their money in the European Union after Britain leaves the bloc in 2019.

In a "risks" section, the prospectus for the new fund said that before and after Brexit "there is likely to be considerable uncertainty as to the position of the UK and the arrangements which will apply to its relationships with the EU".

Rees-Mogg heads up the powerful European Research Group of hardline pro-Brexit MPs who argue that the British economy will flourish once it leaves the European single market and customs union and concludes its own free-trade deals with third countries.

Rees-Mogg is a non-executive chair at SCM and is paid £14,000 (16,000 euros, $19,000) a month for around 30 hours of work there, the reports said.

"The decision to launch the fund was nothing whatsoever to do with Brexit," Rees-Mogg was quoted as saying by The Daily Telegraph newspaper.

He said that the warnings in the prospectus were "not a policy statement by SCM" but guidance to investors drafted by lawyers.

Several London-based financial companies have set up offices in Ireland in recent months as a contingency plan to be able to ensure continuity after Britain leaves the EU, whatever the outcome of tortuous negotiations in Brussels.

Former British finance minister Nigel Lawson, who chaired the official pro-Brexit campaign in the 2016 referendum, last month faced claims of hypocrisy after it emerged that he is applying for a French residency card.

© 2018 AFP