Argentina Challenges HSBC to Condemn ‘Financial Piracy’ As It Demands $3.5bn From Swiss Accounts
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Argentina has challenged HSBC to publicly denounce alleged tax evasion at the bank’s Argentine subsidiary, saying not doing so would be an act of “financial piracy”.
Tax authorities in Buenos Aires have launched proceedings against HSBC Argentina, claiming it helped thousands of wealthy Argentinians hide $3.5bn (£2.3bn) at HSBC’s Swiss private bank.
Speaking in London on Monday, Ricardo Echegaray, the head of the Argentine Federal Administration of Public Revenue (AFIP), called for HSBC Holdings, the parent company listed in London, to make a public statement condemning the past actions of its Argentine division.
“Without tax collection, there is no government, there is no public policy, there is no state,” Mr Echegaray said. “HSBC Holdings can show it is a bank that does not harm governments… that it has an attitude of respect regarding paying taxes and the financing of states.
“Otherwise it would be a behaviour of financial piracy at an international level.”
HSBC’s chief executive Stuart Gulliver, the former head of its private bank Chris Meares, and Rona Fairhead, the head of the BBC Trust and a non-executive director at the bank, face questioning by the Public Accounts Committee of MPs on Monday afternoon.