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Summary

  1. HSBC helped clients dodge tax, according to documents
  2. Greek PM to continue with austerity reversal
  3. Labour proposes paternity leave extension

Live Reporting

By Ben Morris

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Post update

    Ben Morris

    Business Reporter

    That's it from the new extended Business live page. Today we focused on the HSBC tax scandal. If you want more, watch Panorama at 20:30 tonight on BBC One. We will return to our usual briefing of business news tomorrow from 06:00. So do come back and thanks to all those who got in touch today.

  2. Complicated cases

    BBC News Channel

    The tax statute is so complicated that it is hard for a layman to grasp the issues, says Fiona Fernie, head of tax investigations at law firm Pinsent Masons on the News Channel. So it can be hard to prosecute such cases before a jury, she says. That's why it can be more efficient to pursue civil settlements.

  3. Via Email

    'Enough is enough'

    Stewart Docherty

    Live page reader

    "I am furious. Enough is enough. At a time of austerity when peoples benefits are getting cut and we are all getting less social and civil provision, it is yet again those that have that are getting away with it, aided by the banks in defrauding the public of legitimate taxes while the public continues to bail them out! Social responsibility and social equality are the biggest issues we face today."

  4. Luxembourg warning

    Radio 5 live

    Sue Shelley was HSBC Luxembourg's chief compliance officer until 2013, when she was dismissed. She had raised concern over the bank's practices in Luxembourg. People ignored and buried her warnings over compliance, she says on Radio 5 live. She raised specific cases as well as some "fairly systemic problems". So she is "not surprised in the least" over the new revelations from Switzerland.

  5. 'Incredible' range

    Radio 5 live

    "There has never been anything like this," says Richard Bilton from Panorama on Radio 5 live. He has been covering the HSBC tax scandal story. "The range is incredible ... pop stars, royalty, housewives, students, dentists, doctors," he says. He says the tax evasion was "reasonably straight forward".

  6. Market update

    FTSE 100

    The FTSE 100 finished the day with modest losses. Shire was the biggest loser, shares in the drug maker closed almost 3.5% lower. Shares in miners were the biggest winners. Fresnillo added 4% and Glencore closed 3.8% higher.

  7. House of Commons question

    The debate over HSBC tax avoidance is over. I'm not sure we learned much knew. Treasury Minister David Gauke ducked the questions about Lord Green and what he knew about tax avoidance when he was in charge at HSBC. Labour is demanding a statement from Lord Green.

  8. Via Twitter

    Louise Cooper

    Financial Analyst, CooperCity blog

    How bad does it need to get before someone ends up in prison. so far just fines paid for by shareholders.

  9. House of Commons question

    A Labour MP asks if HMRC or the cabinet secretary interviewed Lord Green over the tax scandal at any time. David Gauke is "not aware" of any interviews.

  10. House of Commons question

    One conservative MP asks whether HSBC should have a banking licence given its involvement in previous scandals and problems. David Gauke says that's up to the regulators, but "it really is important that the banking industry gets its house in order".

  11. Via Twitter

    Nick Robinson

    Political editor

    "Treasury Minister David Gauke keeps avoiding q re what ministers knew re HSBC tax allegations before Green made Lord & minister. Treasury & HMRC refusing to say whether evidence re HSBC passed on to ministers in May '10 BUT much more known then than in 2007"

  12. House of Commons question

    Financial Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke ducks a Labour question on what due diligence was done when Lord Green was appointed trade minister. He says: "There are clearly questions about what went on at HSBC between 2005 and 2007." But repeats that Lord Green was a "very successful" trade minister.

  13. Liberal Democrat response

    Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander

    Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said: "Financial institutions who are proven to have colluded with tax evaders should face the full force of the law. We need to work with HMRC and regulators to make sure that they have all the legal and regulatory tools to tackle such situations. If that means a change in the law, or new powers for regulators, that is what we will do."

  14. House of Commons question

    Labour's Dennis Skinner says that thousands of HMRC staff are examining benefits fraud, but only 300 are examining tax fraud. The Treasury's David Guake says his numbers are wrong.

  15. House of Commons question

    David Gauke defends the HMRC. He says there has been a full investigation of 1,000 cases resulting from the HSBC scandal. Those investigations led to the recovery of £135m.

  16. House of Commons question

    Labour puts pressure on former HSBC boss Lord Green who became trade minister. Labour's Shabana Mahmood demands an "immediate statement" from Lord Green and a full explanation of his role at HSBC and his knowledge of the scandal. She also asks if the government sought any information from Lord Green before he was appointed trade minister.

  17. House of Commons question

    More from David Gauke says HMRC is examining whether it has "all the same data" as ICRJ (the organisatin which recieved the whistle blower's information).

  18. House of Commons question

    Treasury Minister David Gauke answers a Labour question on the HSBC tax scandal. He says HMRC has looked to collect the tax and fine evaders. He says that approach has been "very successful". HMRC has sought prosecution for "serial tax evaders".

  19. Via Email

    HSBC scandal

    Paul Rettey

    Live page reader

    "Heads of organisation ARE responsible for what the organisation does. This is WHY they are paid enormous amounts of money, if they aren't responsible they shouldn't be paid the vast sums. Since the reward mechanism is geared toward massive profits for the bank and therefore heads of organisations likewise are rewarded for this performance, then it makes perfect sense that they gun for as much as they can."

  20. Civil recovery

    BBC News Channel

    The BBC's legal affairs correspondent, Clive Coleman, says that the HMRC has not had a great track record when it comes to prosecuting over tax evasion. It has often taken another route called civil recovery. That involves the accused paying back all the tax and a fine, which can by 200% of the original amount.

  21. House of Commons question

    Houses of Parliament

    Just a reminder that at 15:30 Labour's Shabana Mahmood will ask an urgent question in the House of Commons about the HSBC scandal. Treasury Minister David Gauke will answer the question on behalf of the Chancellor. To watch, click on the Live Coverage tab at the top the Business live page.

  22. Via Email

    HMRC response

    "We have systematically worked through all the Lagarde data. As a result tax, interest and penalties have now been paid by those who hid their assets in Switzerland to get out of paying tax. The decision to prosecute is made by the Crown Prosecution Service based on the facts."

  23. Why so few prosecuted?

    BBC News Channel

    Tessa Lorimer, a tax litigation expert, explains why almost no one has been prosecuted over the HSBC tax scandal. Before 2013 it was "very difficult" to get information from abroad, she says. But now it is easier and HMRC will be gathering more information from overseas to see if prosecutions can go ahead.

  24. How did it happen?

    Chris Roebuck

    Cass Business School

    "No one seriously thinks that Stephen Green, the CEO of HSBC at the time, a lay preacher in the Church of England and former Government trade minister, would have sanctioned any illegal activity. So how did it happen ? The likely reason is that lower down the organisation someone, in an attempt to deliver their financial targets and please customers, overstepped the mark and did something they shouldn't have done."

  25. Prime Minister comments

    Prime Minister David Cameron

    The Prime Minister has commented on the appointment of former HSBC chief Lord Green as trade minister: "Stephen Green was an excellent trade minister, he did a good job, but I would also add that no Government has done more than this one to crack down on tax evasion and regressive tax avoidance. I put it absolutely at the head of my G8 agenda to make sure there's more tax transparency, the big companies pay their taxes properly and that we raise money from people previously evading and avoiding taxes and we will go on doing that as a Government."

  26. Via Email

    'Revolving door'

    Jeremy Macleod

    Live page reader

    "The revolving door between big business, banks, consultancies and government is exactly why these things happen in the first place, it was the same under Labour, with the ridiculous, catch all excuse being that only tax consultants with close connections to their banking and business chums are qualified to make new tax policy and enforce the law. Anyone at HMRC who actually does a good job chasing people down is offered absurd sums to jump across to KPMG or a big bank, which removes the threat."

  27. Via Email

    'Particularly damning'

    "The HSBC case is quite different from other recent tax scandals," says Prof Crawford Spence of Warwick Business School, who researches tax avoidance. "HSBC has been complicit in clear tax evasion and law breaking rather than legitimate tax avoidance. The latest details to emerge from the Public Accounts Committee are also particularly damning for the UK tax authorities, HMRC. It appears that we need to rely on computer hackers, investigative journalists and corporate whistleblowers to expose tax evasion."

  28. Arrest warrants?

    More woe for HSBC today, as the judge in charge of a Belgian investigation into the Swiss private banking arm of HSBC is considering issuing an international arrest warrant for the group's directors because they are not cooperating, a prosecution spokeswoman said. Belgium charged the unit with tax fraud and money laundering in November, accusing the bank of offering diamond dealers and other wealthy clients in Belgium ways of hiding cash and evading tax, Reuters reported. A spokesperson for HSBC private bank in Switzerland was not immediately available for comment.

  29. How many housewives?

    Fran Hunter and Mohammad Mirbashiri, BBC Monitoring

    Housewife?

    This gem from Spanish news site El Confidencial's coverage of the HSBC scandal: "More than half on the list are men, but the most common profession listed on bank details is 'housewife' - a term that is also used with unusual frequency on other countries' lists and which is not only used to describe married women, but also businesswomen, architects and even princesses."

  30. In his own words

    BBC Radio 4

    Stephen Green

    The World at One dusts off an old interview with former HSBC boss Lord Green, who is also an ordained priest. We hear him telling Shaun Ley that "the profit motive alone is not enough as a guide for human behaviour".

  31. Commons question

    David Gauke

    As George Osborne is in Istanbul, the government statement on the HSBC scandal is likely to be handled by Treasury minister David Gauke.

  32. EU commission on HSBC

    Nigel Cassidy

    BBC News

    EU Commission

    "A spokesman told the midday meeting that action has been taken at EU and global level to combat tax evasion, to improve transparency and increase exchange of information between tax administrations. The EU and Switzerland forged an agreement on the taxation of savings in 2004. That agreement is now being revised to broaden its scope. It will come into force by 2018 at the latest and will put an end to the use of secret bank accounts."

  33. Via Twitter

    Ed Balls' questions

    Ed Balls

    Ed Balls, has tweeted a link to questions that George Osborne and David Cameron "need to answer today on HSBC, tax evasion & Lord Green".

  34. HSBC: PM's spokesman

    Asked if David Cameron now regretted appointing Lord Green, the PM's spokesman said: "Absolutely not. The PM's view hasn't changed, Lord Green was an excellent minister."

  35. Via Twitter

    Paul Waugh, editor of PoliticsHome.com

    Speaker has gone for it. Urgent Commons Question granted to @ShabanaMahmood asking for statement from Chancellor on HSBC 3.30pm

  36. Swiss bank accounts

    Zurich

    Although the HSBC story revolves around money held in Swiss bank accounts, we should point out that simply having a Swiss account does not make the holder guilty of tax evasion. So when is it acceptable to have a Swiss bank account? Read this useful guide by the BBC's Brian Milligan.

  37. HSBC: PM's spokesperson

    David Cameron's spokesperson has said that the prime minister never discussed the issue with Lord Green, adding: "Tax evasion is always wrong. Rightly HMRC pursues and looks into and investigates cases where there are concerns and it must always do that. Robustly and forcefully. Tax evasions and aggressive tax avoidance is always wrong."

  38. 'Tighter regulation'

    Lobby group Global Witness has called for tighter banking regulation and criminal penalties for senior executives responsible for serious failings to prevent any similar cases in the future. "These repeat offences show just how far Britain's biggest bank has been willing to go to help clients hide their money and its origins. We need real action against individual executives when then intentionally seek to subvert the law," said Robert Palmer, head of the anti-money laundering campaign at Global Witness.

  39. Via Twitter

    Patrick Wintour, political editor of the Guardian

    Labour has asked Treasury to make a Commons statement with regard to HSBC. George Osborne on way to Turkey for G20 meeting.

  40. Via Email

    Cetin Sahin, Live Page reader

    "I think David Buik's analogy [see 08:20] about Lord Green is ridiculous. The arguments for knowing and not knowing are equally shocking. If he didn't know then why NOT?! If a man in charge of a bank does not know the bank's illegal actions worth billions how is he deemed fit to contribute to the running of a country. I am truly gobsmacked at Mr. Buik's reaction."

  41. HSBC shares

    Investors seemingly aren't too worried about the HSBC revelations. The bank's shares are down 1.4% in London, but other UK lenders are down by similar amounts, including Barclays, Standard Chartered and RBS.

  42. Explore the data

    ICIJ

    The organisation that co-ordinated the "Swiss Leaks" story - the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists - has an interactive graphic on their website, through which you can explore the countries and people involved.

  43. HSBC: Indian reaction

    Narendra Modi

    The BBC's Yogita Limaye in Mumbai says the HSBC files reveal the names of almost 1,200 Indians whose balances add up to more than $4bn. The government has promised to investigate whether the account holders had cheated tax authorities - but finance minister Arun Jaitley cautioned that some accounts might be legitimate. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has pledged to root out "black money" from the system - one of its key election promises - but critics have often accused it of trying to shield some people on the list.

  44. Via Twitter

    Nick Robinson

    Political editor

    Qs for @ToryTreasury - Did HMRC/Treasury know re HSBC's tax evasion advice BEFORE Green made peer? How could @EdBallsMP have known in '07?

  45. Swiss investigation?

    Micheline Calmy-Rey

    The Swiss authorities are not easily coerced into action, but AFP reports that former Swiss president Micheline Calmy-Rey has said that opening an investigation into the HSBC revelations "would be the least that could be done". She added that the case had seriously damaged Switzerland's image.

  46. Miliband: 'We need to know'

    BBC News Channel

    Miliband

    Labour leader Ed Miliband has given his comments on the HSBC affair. "We need to know why HMRC apparently did not act, apart from at the margins, on the information that they seem to have been given about what was going on," he said. "We need to know from the government why they appointed Stephen Green of HSBC as a trade minister well after this information was passed to HMRC."

  47. Caring's cash

    Case

    What does five million Swiss francs looks like? Richard Caring, owner of celeb hangout The Ivy, may have some idea. According to the Guardian, the businessman stepped out of HSBC's Geneva branch in September 2005 with that sum in cash - equivalent to £2.25m and enough to fill a suitcase. Richard Caring's tax status meant it was lawful for him to use a Swiss bank account.

  48. HSBC scandal: Down under

    The Guardian reports that the Australian Tax Office said it uncovered "a number of discrepancies" among hundreds of Swiss HSBC accounts held by Australians - many of them prominent figures - and had recovered more than 30 million Australian dollars in tax liabilities over the past five years. The ATO was given a leaked cache of 261 Swiss HSBC bank files in 2010, which it believes to be the same data obtained by the Guardian, the BBC and other news organisations.

  49. 'Murky cash linked to dictators'

    One of the media outlets given access to the HSBC documents, The Indian Express, focuses on the fact that the bank "profited from doing business with arms dealers who channelled mortar bombs to child soldiers in Africa, bag-men for Third World dictators, traffickers in blood diamonds and other international outlaws".

  50. 'Radical transformation'

    HSBC

    AFP have obtained a further comment from HSBC. The bank told the news agency that its private banking arm "began a radical transformation in 2008 to prevent its services from being used to evade taxes or launder money".

  51. 'Many people already knew'

    Radio 5 live

    The deputy PM Nick Clegg told 5 live the tax avoidance industry was "very sophisticated". He said the revelations "lift the lid on something which I suspect many people already knew" and that the issue "was not properly grappled with by the previous government".

  52. HSBC scandal

    BBC Radio 4

    Richard Brooks, the former tax inspector, was on Today. The £135m HMRC has recovered as a result of these leaked account details is a "fraction" of the "billions" missed out on because of tax dodging, he says.

  53. Via Twitter

    Jamie Angus, editor, Today programme

    Did anyone ask Stephen Green about HSBC private bank prior to his appointment as Trade Minister. Gauke: 'I don't know.'

  54. HSBC scandal

    The Guardian

    The Guardian dedicates its whole front page to what it describes as the "biggest banking leak in history". It says those caught up in it include "Hollywood stars", "royalty" and "heirs to some of Europe's biggest fortunes." Exchequers around the world are considered to be fighting a "losing battle" against "fleet-footed wealthy individuals", the paper suggests.

  55. HSBC scandal

    Radio 5 live

    Labour's shadow work and pensions secretary, Rachel Reeves, told 5 live Breakfast: "What we've seen in the last five years is absolutely no action from this government. As far as I can tell just 1% of people implicated have been prosecuted. The head of HSBC has been given a peerage and a government ministerial job by this government and uncollected tax is on the increase."

  56. HSBC scandal

    BBC Breakfast

    Hodge

    Margaret Hodge, chair of the UK Public Accounts Committee, puts the boot into HSBC on Breakfast, claiming that the bank "acted outrageously" and has been an "aggressive protagonist". She questioned whether the bank had avoided being prosecuted in Britain because its former chairman Stephen Green had been made a peer and government minister.

  57. Via Twitter

    Kamal Ahmed

    BBC Business editor

    David Gauke - "Clearly HSBC have got questions to answer". No suggestion that Lord Green knew of the behaviour

  58. HSBC scandal

    Radio 5 live

    Market commentator David Buik says expecting Lord Green (the man in charge of HSBC at the time) to answer questions on HSBC bankers' practices is "like asking Lord Hall what the junior producer on 5 Live is doing". He adds: "I suspect he [Lord Green, that is] knew virtually nothing about this".

  59. Via Twitter

    Nick Robinson

    Political editor

    Well well. Lord Green - the former boss of HSBC who won't answer questions re it's tax avoidance - is a vicar. Thoughts @JustinWelby?

  60. Rolls-Royce order

    f-35

    Rolls-Royce says it has been awarded three contracts worth up to $442m (£290m) to produce and maintain the vertical landing systems for new F-35B fighter jets.

  61. Via Twitter

    Nick Robinson

    Political editor

    Why did Tories give peerage to HSBC boss at time of tax evasion and make Lord Green trade minister? Claim he was cleaning up bank.

  62. Via Twitter

    BBC Breakfast

    'Questions need to be answered by Ed Balls who was City Minister at the time' - @DavidGauke [Financial Secretary to the Treasury] tells us

  63. Via Twitter

    Nick Robinson

    Political editor

    "Labour say HSBC role in tax avoidance may date back to 2006/7 when @EdBallsMP was City minister but it didn't emerge till '10."

  64. HSBC scandal

    BBC Radio 4

    Margaret Hodge, who leads the UK's Public Accounts Committee, is on Today. She says: "HMRC have had a list of about 7,000 individuals who had bank accounts in Switzerland... it contacted 1,100 and prosecuted one." Other countries are prosecuting the bank, but the UK isn't, she adds.

  65. HSBC scandal

    For its part, HSBC denies that all these account holders were evading tax, and says that since 2007, it has "implemented numerous initiatives designed to prevent its banking services being used to evade taxes or launder money". You can read the bank's statement in full here.

  66. HSBC scandal

    BBC Radio 4

    Green

    Richard Bilton of BBC's Panorama is on Today. The data on HSBC, he says, includes accounts for 6,000 British clients. One millionaire was provided with a foreign credit card so he could withdraw money without being spotted by the taxman. As part of Richard's investigation, he tried to talk to HSBC's boss at the time, Stephen Green (pictured), who declined to comment.

  67. Carney

    Mark Carney

    Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, is worried. He is worried about "financial reform fatigue" across the globe. Speaking ahead of the G20 meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors in Istanbul, he added there is a risk of "financial abandonment" of either countries or financial institutions. Worrying stuff indeed.

  68. 'Repaired to The Ritz'

    BBC Breakfast

    These revelations, Mr Brooks adds, are "every bit as serious" as the Libor banking scandal, and "probably more widespread". He says the documents show that HSBC bankers "thought they could get away with it". After discussing how to set up an undeclared account with one client, one banker writes that "they repaired to the Ritz for a very enjoyable lunch".

  69. HSBC scandal

    BBC Breakfast

    Mr Brooks reminds us that while we don't know quite how much UK tax was evaded by HSBC, "about 10 years ago the tax authorities estimated the amount they lost every year from offshore accounts, and that was around £3bn back then".

  70. HSBC scandal

    BBC Breakfast

    Brooks

    Former tax inspector Richard Brooks is on Breakfast, explaining how HSBC set up "secret accounts" to help its richest clients evade taxes. "Government has been sitting on this information for five years," he says, bemoaning the lack of prosecutions. "There is clear evidence of criminal activity ... If [the accused] had been benefits claimants, they would have been up before the magistrates very quickly."

  71. Paternity plans

    Ed Miliband says a Labour government would increase paternity leave from two to four weeks - and almost double the pay to £260. He contends that Britain's future depends on the success of modern working families.

  72. Mortgage low

    Radio 5 live

    Fixed rate mortgages rates in the UK have fallen to the lowest level on record. This week, mortgage rates have been cut by Norwich and Peterborough Building Society, HSBC and Barclays. Sue Noffke, UK Equities Manager at asset management firm Schroders, tells Wake up to Money that the drop is down to the fall in borrowing costs for banks - largely down to fiscal stimulus policies. But, she adds, while rates are low, getting approved for a mortgage is getting increasingly difficult.

  73. HSBC scandal

    hsbc

    The big story overnight is that a huge tranche of leaked documents from 2007 show a Swiss subsidiary of HSBC helped customers cheat the taxman out of millions of pounds. We'll bring you more details of the leaks ahead of a BBC Panorama special tonight, and reaction from the business world.

  74. Post update

    Chris Johnston

    Business reporter

    Do get in touch with your thoughts on today's business news via email at bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk, or tweet us at @bbcbusiness

  75. Via Twitter

    Joe Miller

    Business Reporter

    Good morning, and welcome to our first all-singing, all-dancing, extended Live Page. We're with you until 18:00 GMT today, bringing you the best of business news from Britain and beyond.