Regrets… and some finger-pointing
The two top bosses at HSBC have apologised for practices at its Swiss private bank in the wake of the tax evasion scandal.
HSBC group CEO Stuart Gulliver told MPs on Wednesday: “I would like to put on the record an apology from both myself and Douglas for the unacceptable events that took place at our private bank in Switzerland in the mid-2000s. […]
“It clearly was unacceptable. We very much regret this, and it has damaged HSBC’s reputation.”
Chairman Douglas Flint, who was finance director of HSBC when the bank allegedly helped international private client evade tax from 2005 to 2007, told the Treasury Committee he would “take his share of responsibility” for what happened.
He added that he felt “very ashamed” by the allegations.
But he didn’t shy away from pointing the finger, either.
Flint told the committee: “The individuals most accountable for the data theft and the behaviour that was unacceptable to our standards, was the management in Switzerland. Most culpable were the relationship managers [there].”
And he directly blamed, named and shamed the global private banking heads at the time, Clive Bannister and Chris Meares, saying: “They certainly bear fairly direct responsibility for what went on in the private bank during their stewardship.”
Missed the story so far? Here’s how it’s unfolded…