Labour leader Ed Miliband yesterday pointed the finger at Conservative party treasurer Lord Fink alleging he was involved in tax avoidance as part of the growing scandal surrounding HSBC’s Swiss private banking arm.
“Let’s take Stanley Fink who gave £3m to the Conservative Party. He [David Cameron] actually appointed him as Treasurer of the Tory Party and gave him a peerage for good measure,” said Miliband during Prime Minister’s Questions. “So now can he explain what steps he is going to take to find out about the tax avoidance activities of Lord Fink?”
In a letter to Miliband, Fink challenged him to repeat the allegations – which he says are “untrue and defamatory” – outside of parliament where Miliband would not be protected by parliamentary privilege.
Fink explained in the letter that when working for Man Group in Switzerland until 2000: “As I already banked with HSBC in London, I set up an account with HSBC. I subsequently set up an account with Credit Suisse as they had a branch much closer to my home and office.
“I submitted tax returns in both Switzerland and Britain showing my revised tax status, which was accepted by the Inland Revenue,” he added.
Miliband is understood to be prepared to repeat the allegations outside of parliament.
A Labour spokesman said: “There are serious allegations in the Guardian about Lord Fink including his complex arrangements to minimise tax. He still has not justified the reasons why he made these arrangements. He should do so. David Cameron must explain whether he is happy to have appointed Lord Fink as Treasurer. Then it will be up to the public to judge.”
In a tabled motion yesterday Miliband also called on the government to introduce stricter anti-tax avoidance rules.