HSBC takes out newspaper ad to apologise over Swiss tax claims

15th February 2015, Comments 0 comments

Banking giant HSBC took out full-page adverts in British Sunday newspapers to apologise over claims that it helped customers at its Swiss private banking arm to avoid millions of dollars of tax.

The advert, which featured in the Sunday Times, Sunday Telegraph, Mail on Sunday and Sun on Sunday, republishes a letter addressed by chief executive Stuart Gulliver to the bank's customers and staff on Friday, in which he insists the Swiss bank had been "completely overhauled".

"The media focus has been on historical events that show the standards to which we operate today were not universally in place," he wrote.

"We must show we understand that the societies we serve expect more from us. We therefore offer our sincerest apologies."

But the bank chief asked that the claims be put "into context" and acknowledge that they had arisen from stolen data.

"Many of the people mentioned have been named simply because they are well-known individuals," he wrote.

The claims in the "SwissLeaks" case emerged after a whistleblower took files from Europe's biggest bank and passed them to French authorities.

Details were published in the media last week, with the files claiming that London-based HSBC's Swiss division helped clients in more than 200 countries dodge taxes on accounts containing $119 billion (104 billion euros).

© 2015 AFP

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