Date
22 August 2017
HSBC said the media revelations that its Swiss private banking unit had helped wealthy people avoid taxes have been a "painful experience". Photo: Bloomberg
HSBC said the media revelations that its Swiss private banking unit had helped wealthy people avoid taxes have been a "painful experience". Photo: Bloomberg

HSBC apologizes for lax standards at Swiss private bank

HSBC issued a public apology on Sunday for past practices at its Swiss private bank after allegations that it helped hundreds of clients to dodge taxes.

The banking giant took out full-page advertisements in British newspapers to apologize to its customers and staff, saying the media revelations in the last week have been a “painful experience”.

In the message signed by Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver, Europe’s largest bank said standards in place today “were not universally in place” in the past.

“We therefore offer our sincerest apologies,” it said, echoing an email sent to staff on Friday, when Gulliver said HSBC had sometimes failed to live up to the standards expected of it, Reuters reported.

HSBC has admitted failings in compliance and controls in its Swiss private bank after the media allegations that it may have enabled clients to conceal millions of dollars of assets.

The disclosures have sparked a political row in Britain over practices at HSBC and whether tax authorities had done enough to pursue possible wrongdoers.

Britain’s Treasury Committee has called HSBC’s chairman and chief executive to give evidence on the matter on Feb. 25, according to Reuters.

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FL/RC

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