There is a load of nonsense being talked all around government and the media tonight suggesting that maybe no-one knew about HSBC's tax issues at the time Stephen Green was appointed a peer.
That's nonsense. I wrote the blog below in September 2010. I have replaced the photo here: the original has gone missing. Otherwise it is word for word the same. And if I knew, anyone could, not least because my blog was pretty easy to find, even back then:
The BBC has reported:
Hundreds of wealthy UK taxpayers have been sent letters by HM Revenue & Customs over possible large-scale tax evasion, the BBC has learned.
It is understood HMRC has acquired a list of high net-worth individuals with accounts at the Swiss division of HSBC.
The list was stolen by an employee and passed to the taxman by the French authorities. The bank is not accused of any wrongdoing.
The campaign comes after the government announced a crackdown on tax avoidance.
This is good news. And let’s have none of the nonsense that the list was stolen. We’ve always paid informers to tackle crime.
As for the bank’s behaviour, I note what the BBC says. But it always baffles me as to how a bank can be innocent in these cases. It has a duty to make sure it is not handling money laundered funds. Tax evaded money is money laundered in my opinion.
Also note this is HSBC. Why’s that relevant? Why, because of the Rev Stephen Green, of course! This is him:
I’m sure he delivers a great sermon. No doubt he asks his congregation to admit and repent of their sins, regularly. But a Stephen Green is also the chairman of HSBC. This is him:
Yes, they are the same guy.
And extraordinarily there’s been a chap called Stephen Green who has been chair of HSBC Private Banking Holdings (Suisse) SA. Yep, that HSBC’s Swiss private bank. This is him:
Same guy. He’s busy, isn’t he?
And then note that a chap called Stephen Green is shortly to become Lord Green and become Trade Minister in the ConDem government. Who could it be? No, surely not:
Oh yes it is.
Perhaps in his new role he’s like to tell HMRC where they should be looking.
I have a feeling he never did.
It was that old Swiss baking secrecy thing, I am sure.