HSBC: Ministers who lie or refuse to tell the truth should be made to stand down

The lies, mis-statements and blatant evasions over the HSBC Swiss bank are beginning to build up.   We were initially told that no Minister had any knowledge of wrongdoing at HSBC Suisse until this last week.   This has now been contradicted by several different sources.   Lin Homer, the besieged and rather ineffective head of HMRC, told the PAC select committee that officials would have told government Ministers within months of receiving the incriminating data from the French tax authorities.  She said “We are confident we will have told Ministers that we were about to receive a big tranche of operation information”.   Even more explicitly Dave Hartnett, the previous HMRC chief, told the Treasury select committee in September 2011 that “I think the whole nation probably knows that our department has a disc from the Swiss, from the Geneva branch of a major UK bank, with 6,000 names, all ripe for investigation”.   So the statement that Ministers never knew anything about this enormous scandal until just a week ago, put out by Downing Street aides unquestionably with Ministerial approval, was a lie.   The Minister who approved this statement should be made to resign.

Then there is the matter that it is inconceivable that Cameron didn’t know about the rampant tax evasion going on at the HSBC bank when he appointed Green, the head of HSBC at the time, as his Trade Minister in January 2011, 9 months after HMRC had received the HSBC files.   Cameron was asked point-blank 4 times in the Commons yesterday what discussions he had had with Green at the time about tax avoidance at HSBC, and he ostentatiously refused to answer each time by talking about something else.   No Minister should be allowed to blank out the truth about a matter of acute public concern.

Then there’s the scandal that the UK Government made clear on several occasions that they never wanted to touch this incriminating data in the first place.   We now know that Herve’Falciani, the French IT expert at the bank, contacted the UK tax authorities as early as 2008 offering to pass over to them the tax evasion information, but the UK did not respond.   In early 2010 the French tax authorities start telling other tax authorities around the world, including the UK, about the existence of these HSBC files.   Then in February 2010 Dave Hartnett, head of tax at HMRC, meets with representatives from HSBC, but refuses to admit what was discussed – obviously the existence of these files and its implications.   Then in July 2010 HSBC, tipped off by Hartnett,  tries to use the French courts to stop the French tax authority handing the files to HMRC.   Finally, in January 2013, 6 months after retiring from HMRC, Hartnett joins HSBC as a consultant!   What does all that tell you about UK connivance in criminal tax evasion and avoidance?

5 thoughts on “HSBC: Ministers who lie or refuse to tell the truth should be made to stand down

  1. Well one things for sure you new the banksters had been fraudulent in their deals but saying you didnt now this when a fool would isnt saying much about you all its the crookidness of it all and this crooked fraudulent government have done so much damage yet cams and co wont be brought to book for their wicked ways nor the banksters either jeff3

  2. If Ministers who lie or refuse to tell the truth are made to stand down, then there would be no Government or, for that matter, no Opposition.

  3. Well, it’s all out in the open now (I trust) so it just remains to be seen what’ll be done about it. Tonight’s BBC News singled out Paul Bloomfield a multi-millionaire who hasn’t paid any tax for decades! This situation must not be allowed to continue so I trust the entire system will be reviewed and redrawn.

    As for Cameron, it would be great if he were made to resign just before the General Election, for lying to Parliament, (as I think he may well have done recently ) .

  4. People are sleepwalking through this crisis unable to comprehend that the solution lies in their hands.

    Only when we sweep these lying politicians away, can we start to rebuild our democracy.

    The problem is that so many do not see what Michael has persistently reported, New Labour are as tainted as the Tories and for the same reasons. Back in the 1920s we had very similar economic circumstances and when Ramsey McDonald joined the conservative coalition Labour MPs split away with radical liberals to form Labour.

    That enabled them to become the radical force, which was able to form a government that gave Britain the a standard of living never known before.

    Unless the left repeats that our voice will never be heard, and will become victim to the failure of Neo-Liberal New Labour, where most will lose and take up well paid private sector jobs, just like Milburn and others.

  5. This issue with Politicians lying is an-going problem with the ConDems; I’ve been working on a Truth Campaign for over three years – the latest step is to have #IDS indicted via a petition to –

    Use the full Powers of the Commission and investigate Iain Duncan Smith Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for his regular use of untruths and the persistent deception misleading of The House of Commons, Select Committees and the Media.

    Seems to me given the breadth of evidence, IDS as perpetual liar is a good place to start?

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