Treasury Select Committee to launch HSBC tax inquiry as HMRC calls in the police

Catherine Neilan
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HSBC: Faces a grilling by the Treasury Select Committee (Source: Getty)

The Treasury Select Committee has confirmed it will launch an inquiry into HSBC's Swiss private bank.

The committee, headed by Conservative MP Andrew Tyrie, will take oral evidence from both the bank and HMRC executives as it attempts to get to the bottom of the hot potato issue that has dominated this week.
Tyrie said: “Banks have repeatedly told the Committee that, since the crisis, they have put in place reforms to ensure they operate on the basis of sharply improved standards.
“The Committee will need reassurance that they have done so in private banking. The Committee will also examine whether part of the banks’ apparent ‘solution’ – de-risking – may have created another problem, that of unreasonably denying customers access to banking services.”
Already this week the committee grilled Financial Conduct Authority chairman Martin Wheatley over the scandal.
During a pre-planned session Labour MP John Mann pushed Wheatley, questioning how it was possible that the City watchdog knew nothing about it.
HSBC has been investigated by authorities across the world, but you, as the conduct authority, in this country have not even been informed about what HMRC have been investigating for five years.
How can you possibly be working with the bank from 2013 when you don’t have full knowledge of what they’ve been doing, and another part of the government does know, but isn’t informing you?
It has been a bruising week for HSBC since a huge cache of leaked files were published on Sunday apparently showing that its Swiss division had helped thousands of clients worldwide evade tax.
Fink had initially said he would sue Miliband for slander, but subsquently told the Evening Standard he had engaged in “vanilla” tax avoidance, and that “everyone does tax avoidance at some level”.

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