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As if things weren't bad enough already - now HSBC's chief has a super secret Swiss tax account

The banking giant announced huge losses in its annual results earlier

HSBC Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver
HSBC Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver
Image: Vincent Yu

HSBC CHIEF EXECUTIVE Stuart Gulliver has taken centre stage in ‘Swiss Leaks’ tax scandal as it emerged yesterday that he himself has a Swiss account by which he manages his bonuses via a Panamanian company.

HSBC has acknowledged the account’s existence and said it was set up in 1998 when Gulliver was living and working in Hong Kong. The balance in the account is some €6.8 million.

Gulliver has denied any wrongdoing, while HSBC released a statement suggesting that the account in question is fully tax compliant under UK rules.

The CEO’s pay for 2014 fell by €585,000 to €10.3 million with a reduction in his bonus the main factor.

The news is the latest in a series of setbacks that have shaken the banking giant to its foundations.

shutterstock_219845770 Source: Shutterstock/Angelina Dimitrova

Earlier this morning HSBC announced an enormous 17% drop in profits in its accounts for end 2014.

The bank this morning confirmed its annual results at the end of a torrid two weeks for the corporation.

Profit Before Tax (PBT) stood at just €16.5 billion as at end 2014, compared with €19.9 billion for the previous year.

Earnings per share slumped in a similar fashion to USD$0.69 from USD$0.84 in 2013.

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A HSBC statement stressed the poor results were due to ‘the negative effect, on both revenue and costs, of significant items including fines and settlements and UK customer redress’.

“Profits disappointed,” admitted  Gulliver in a statement before claiming ‘a tough fourth quarter’ masked some of the progress that had been made earlier in 2014.

Many of the challenging aspects of the fourth quarter results were common to the industry as a whole.
The Swiss Leaks scandal broke earlier this month as details emerged of how HSBC’s Swiss unit handled secret accounts for tax evaders and criminals in recent years, among them a number of Irish account-holders.

Last week Gulliver acknowledged that his bank had ‘sometimes failed to live up to the standards expected of it’.

The Financial Conduct Authority, HMRC, Swiss prosecutors and British MPs on the UK’s Treasury Committee are looking into the allegations that HSBC helped people evade UK tax using hidden HSBC accounts in Geneva.

Read: Police raid HSBC offices in money-laundering probe

Read: Telegraph writer resigns, claiming advertisers were influencing stories

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