Labour leader Ed Miliband has called on trade minister Stephen Green to make a statement in the House of Lords on his role in the HSBC money laundering scandal.
Speaking to reporters after a speech on crime and policing at the Institute of Government in central London this morning, Miliband said Green, who was chief executive and then chairman of Britain’s biggest bank during the period (2004-2010) in which it is alleged by US senators to have facilitated financial transactions between “drug kingpins and rogue nations”, had questions to answer.
“What happened at HSBC is frankly shocking," Miliband said.
Yesterday, the Opposition’s attempt to table an Urgent Question in the House of Lords was rebuffed by parliamentary authorities.
But pressure is growing on the Tory peer, and ordained priest, who was appointed to government in January 2011, to explain himself.
The Huffington Post revealed how Green, the then chief executive, was made aware of the bank’s alleged ties with “rogue” regimes in the Middle East as long ago as 2005.
The US Senate investigation into HSBC has released internal emails showing how Green was warned by an internal whistleblower in the bank’s Mexico subsidiary that compliance staff had “fabricated records”- again, in 2005.
He was also told in 2008, two years after being appointed executive chairman, that the Mexican authorities had uncovered evidence of money laundering that “may imply criminal responsibility of HSBC”.
Despite being taunted by Labour peer and former minister Lord Foulkes as the “Scarlet Pimpernel of the House of Lords”, Green has refused so far to answer questions on the scandal.
His office has confirmed that the Tory peer is in the UK. As a trade minister in the business department, Green is poised to play a key role in the government’s attempts to use the Olympics to secure millions of pounds of worth of trade contracts.
The prime minister is standing by his man. A Downing Street source told the Daily Telegraph: “As far as we are concerned, he’s not going anywhere – there are no allegations against him and all this information was already in the public domain.”