Former HSBC chairman steps down from City lobby group after leaks

By Reuters

Feb 15, 2015 06:55 AM EST

A former boss of HSBC, Stephen Green, has stepped down from his position with a financial services lobby group after allegations that the bank helped people dodge taxes.

Green, who is under increasing pressure over the HSBC revelations, quit as chairman of The CityUK's advisory council, an unpaid position, the organization said on Saturday.

"This is entirely his own decision," Gerry Grimstone, chairman of the The CityUK's board, said, describing Green as a man of great personal integrity.

"He doesn't want to damage the effectiveness of TheCityUK in promoting good governance and doing the right thing so has decided to step aside from chairing our Advisory Council."

Lawmakers in Britain's parliament are considering whether to quiz Green over the allegations and the Bank of England has said it might look into the case too.

Green was HSBC chairman from 2006 until 2010. He has so far declined to comment on the allegations.

Europe's largest bank has admitted failings in compliance and controls in its Swiss private bank after media allegations that it may have enabled clients to avoid paying tax.

The bank's chief executive Stuart Gulliver said on Friday that HSBC had sometimes failed to live up to the standards expected of it.

The leader of Britain's Labour Party, Ed Miliband, accused the Conservative-led government of Prime Minister David Cameron on Saturday of not being tough enough on tax avoiders.

"We will shine a light on parts of our tax system that have been shrouded in secrecy by this government," he told a gathering of Labour supporters in Wales.

If Labour wins national elections on May 7, it will launch an independent, root and branch review of the culture and practice of Britain's tax office, Miliband said.

Labour has criticized Cameron for appointing Green as a trade minister in 2011, a position he held until 2013, saying the government knew about HSBC's work in Switzerland.

The government has hit back, saying Labour was in power at the time of the alleged tax avoidance.

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