Wednesday, 11 February 2015

HSBC was advising its clients on tax avoidance/evasion

Dave Hartnett explains why he never told the government about HSBC's issues:
Asked why he took no steps to pass on the allegations contained on the so-called “Swiss disc”, Dave Hartnett, HMRC’s then head of tax, said: “HMRC is asked to provide an indication of reputational risk for appointments of peers in relation to their tax compliance history only.”
So, the rules said HMRC had to report only Steve Green's personal tax compliance. Surely the government would or should have wanted to know about HSBC's dodgy history before making its chairman a Peer and a minister. But the rules didn't cover that case. Moral for political economy types: written rules and institutions are never enough.

For those of us who hope personal virtue can solve these problems, here's another Guardian piece...