HSBC Is Really Sorry About Some Of Those Lucrative/Illegal Things It’s Not Doing As Much Anymore

All of that tax dodging stuff is in the past. Can you find it in your heart to forgive them? They took out an ad in the paper and everything.

Stuart Gulliver's "I'm sorry" haircut.

If one is going to be the world’s local bank, to tax cheats, rogue states and drug cartels as well as normal, law-abiding people, one had a tendency to go a little native. And the otherwise good people at HSBC admit that they may have taken a little too easily to certain Alpine cultures.

And that requires an apology. A real apology—not some hand-written mea culpa for unspecified “mistakes” distributed gratis by a hungry sporting media. One that actually costs a few quid. The timing’s good, too, since people will be too busy reading their newspapers to look up and see the Swiss cops storming HSBC’s Geneva office.

Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver signed an ad published in several newspapers, arguing the controversy relates to "historical" practices that don't reflect the bank's current standards. HSBC has "no appetite" to help clients avoid taxes, he said.

"We must show we understand that the societies we serve expect more from us," Gulliver said. "We therefore offer our sincerest apologies."

Scandal-hit HSBC issues public apology for tax dodge scandal [AP]
Swiss Prosecutors Search Offices of HSBC Unit [DealBook]