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George Osborne ducks questions on HSBC tax evasion

Chancellor George Osborne was ridiculed yesterday for repeatedly dodging questions about whether he discussed allegations of HSBC tax-dodging with the bank’s former chairman Lord Green.

He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme he was unaware of allegations that HSBC’s Swiss arm had colluded in tax evasion at the time Lord Green was appointed trade minister.

But Labour shadow chancellor Ed Balls pointed out that Mr Osborne was asked six times whether he discussed the allegations with Lord Green and six times he refused to answer.

“What has George Osborne got to hide? People will draw their own conclusions from his total failure to answer,” he said.

Mr Osborne also could not explain why only one person had been prosecuted, despite HM Revenue and Customs receiving a dossier on 1,100 HSBC customers in May 2010.

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