February 11, 2015 / 1:11 PM / 5 years ago

Cameron backs ex-HSBC chairman Green going before parliament - spokesman

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron speaks at the British Chambers of Commerce annual meeting in central London February 10, 2015. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister David Cameron would support HSBC’s former executive chairman Stephen Green going before lawmakers to answer questions about what he knew about tax avoidance at the bank’s Swiss arm, his spokesman suggested on Wednesday.

Cameron appointed Green, a British peer, to be a trade minister in 2010 and his spokesman has said he thinks Green, who is no longer in government, did a good job.

Asked on Wednesday if Cameron felt it would be useful for Green to appear before a parliamentary committee to explain what he knew about possible wrongdoing at HSBC’s Swiss arm, his spokesman said it wasn’t a decision for the prime minister but that he favoured people accounting for themselves.

“The prime minister’s sort of point of principle, you know, is that he’s always of the view wherever possible it is (desirable for individuals to testify),” Cameron’s spokesman told reporters.

“He would support the idea of people coming before select committees and answering questions that parliamentarians have,” he added.

So far, Green has not commented.

A panel of British lawmakers said earlier this week they planned to open an inquiry into HSBC Holdings Plc HSBA.L, after media reports that the bank helped wealthy customers dodge taxes and conceal millions of dollars of assets.

It has not yet disclosed who it would like to question.

Reporting by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge

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