Thursday 12 March 2015


The chief executive of HSBC and the Chair of its audit committee had a hard time before the Public Accounts committee. Particularly from Margaret Hodge and Stephen Phillips. Their excuse for not stopping the money laundering for drug dealers and the other offences for which they'd been fined $1.9 billion and  for facilitating tax evasion through their Swiss private bank was that they didn't know what was going on.

That means that they were drawing their enormous performance pay and bonuses (boosted of course by the profits of crime) under false pretences or that they're incompetent. In fact of course this bank and most of the others is too big to manage or audit or control. It should be broken up but it's also too big for government to cut it down to size.

Lord Green, who was chief executive and then chairman in those happy HSBC days was not called either by us or the Treasury committee. I said he should be because of course we'll look daft if we don't challenge the boss but the Tories thought no so I was a solitary voice for sense .That's not unusual but I do hope I didn't upset them .They won't like to be thought to be doing what the government wants.

Still of the worst sanction banks which behave badly have to face is a fierce tongue lashing from Margaret Hodge rather than the massive fines and occasional prison sentences they have to face in the USA it makes it easier to attract them here to conduct their dodgy business in London where chaps regulate chaps and can be guaranteed to be nice to other chaps even if they're foreigners. London's grass is Greener.

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