BBC Trust nominee grilled by MPs

Oliver Smith
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Rona Fairhead was picked as the preferred candidate to be chair of the BBC Trust last week
RONA Fairhead, the preferred candidate for chairmanship of the BBC Trust, faced a grilling by MPs yesterday morning, including questions over her role during the HSBC Mexico money laundering scandal and her Pearson pay off.

Fairhead was the chair of HSBC’s risk committee at the time of the case, which resulted in the bank being fined $1.9bn (£1.2bn) to settle allegations it had allowed terrorists to move money around the financial system. At least $881m was laundered by Mexican drug traffickers and others.

Fairhead said yesterday: “One has to be realistic and sometimes bad things do happen. Sometimes the controls you think are effective turn out not to be so.”

It was “how you respond” to these situations that was key, she told the culture, media and sport committee.

Fairhead was also questioned over her £1.1m payoff from Pearson, raising concerns this might present a conflict of interests when it comes to tackling senior pay at the BBC.