Miliband ‘stands by peer tax claim’

Published: Thursday 12th February 2015 by The News Editor

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Ed Miliband is prepared to repeat allegations that former Tory party treasurer Stanley Fink engaged in “tax avoidance activities” without the cloak of parliamentary privilege, Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman has indicated.

Lord Fink has said the comments by the Labour leader in the Commons during Prime Minister’s Questions were “untrue and defamatory”.

He challenged Mr Miliband either to withdraw them or repeat them outside the House, where he would not be protected from legal action.

But interviewed on BBC 2’s Newsnight, Ms Harman insisted Mr Miliband stood by the comments he made during heated exchanges with David Cameron over allegations that HSBC’s Swiss banking arm had helped thousands of clients avoid UK taxes.

She was asked by presenter Emily Maitlis: “Stanley Fink said Ed Miliband has got to repeat his allegations about him specifically that he had engaged in tax avoiding activities. Will he do that?”

Ms Harman replied: “Yes, and he stands by the assertion that these questions must be answered that there in The Guardian – and there they are – there are concerns about tax avoidance.”

In a statement earlier, Lord Fink said he had a Swiss bank account because he was working for the Man Group in the country for four years from 1996 to 2000.

“During this time I had need of a local bank account to do simple things like receive my Swiss franc salary and pay grocery bills,” he said.

“As I already banked with HSBC in London, I set up an account with HSBC. I subsequently set up an account with Credit Suisse as they had a branch much closer to my home and office.

“I submitted tax returns in both Switzerland and Britain showing my revised tax status, which was accepted by the Inland Revenue.

“The only way I have ever sought to depress my income tax liability is by giving a lot of my income to charity.”

He told Mr Miliband: “I challenge you to repeat your allegation outside the House of Commons – or to withdraw it publicly.”

Published: Thursday 12th February 2015 by The News Editor

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