HSBC boss Stuart Gulliver comes out fighting over criticism of his tax affairs

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Chief executive Stuart Gulliver, who is based in London but counts Hong Kong as his long-term home, defended arrangements that allowed his bonuses to be paid into a Swiss bank account through a Panamanian company called Worcester Equities Inc.

But he insisted: “I’ve never paid less than the marginal UK tax rate” on all his HSBC earnings.

Mr Gulliver, who was awarded £7.619 million in pay, bonuses, share incentive schemes, pension top-ups and benefits last year, said the structure was put in place earlier in his career to prevent colleagues finding out how much he earned rather than reducing his tax bill.

The Swiss bank account, which held around £5 million, was part of the Geneva-based HSBC subsidiary that has been accused of helping clients avoid taxes. The arrangement was halted in 2009 when Mr Gulliver joined the main board of the HSBC’s global holding company and details of his remuneration were disclosed in the company’s annual report and accounts.

However, Labour veteran Margaret Hodge, who chairs the Commons’ Public Accounts Committee, said: “The chief executive of a bank or any organisation should lead by example.”

The bank also revealed that its five best-paid executives were awarded a total of £26.76 million last year, an average of £5.35 million each.

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February 23, 2015 |
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