HSBC’s chairman will face MPs this month to explain what the bank has done to stop its Swiss unit helping customers to evade taxes.
Douglas Flint has been summoned by the Treasury Select Committee, along with HMRC boss Lin Homer.
The bank and the taxman have faced a storm of criticism this week on the publication of extra details of the help HSBC’s Swiss private bank gave to clients hiding funds from the authorities.
“Banks have repeatedly told the Committee that, since the crisis, they have put in place reforms to ensure that they operate on the basis of sharply improved standards,” said Treasury Committee chairman Andrew Tyrie MP.
“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.”
It came as the main political parties had to concede a score draw in the row over Tory peer Stanley Fink, as both seemed to backtrack from their previous positions, while claiming the other had retreated from the spat.
A Labour spokesman said: “We used the phrase tax avoidance about Lord Fink in parliament. We stand by it.” The Tories continued to insist Ed Miliband was referring to Lord Fink when he blasted David Cameron as “a dodgy Prime Minister surrounded by dodgy donors.” The peer has retracted his threat to sue the Labour leader.
And Miliband was forced to defend his own tax arrangements. Questioned by the BBC over the inheritance of his father’s multi-million pound London home, Miliband said: “Let me just say this; I paid tax as a result of that transaction. I’ve avoided no tax.”