HSBC bosses Stuart Gulliver and Douglas Flint apologise to MPs over Swiss private banking scandal

 
Emma Haslett
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Flint said he would take his "fair share of responsibility" (Source: Getty)

Stuart Gulliver, HSBC's chief executive and Douglas Flint, the embattled bank's chairman, have apologised for "unacceptable" practices at its Swiss private banking arm.

During questioning by the Treasury Select Committee, Gulliver admitted the scandal had caused "damage to trust" in HSBC, while Flint said he felt "shame" and would "take his share of responsibility".

However, in the face of questions about why Gulliver was still supported by the board despite a number of investigations currently directed at HSBC, Flint said:

I think Mr Gulliver's doing an outstanding job. Many of these things are not criminality but wide ranging investigations. It's beyond the facts to say they're evidence of criminality
The two were hauled in front of the Committee after leak of data around accounts at the bank revealed it had helped private banking customers avoid tax.
Flint said the majority of those responsible were "the management in Switzerland", adding that around 30 per cent of the relationship managers responsible then were still employed by the bank.
MPs also took turns baiting the pair, asking whether they considered themselves "fatcats".
While Gulliver was questioned heavily about his non-domiciled statuses, Flint insisted he was "transparent" about the amount of tax he pays:
I pay all my tax and I find it abhorrent that others don't. Today if you're banking outside the country in which you live you have to be transparent.
And although the pair both said HSBC had reformed since the leaks, in 2007, Flint added he could not rule out the chance of more problems coming to like. The process of reforming will "always be ongoing", he said.

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