HSBC accused of ‘putting profits before human rights’
Earlier this year, The Telegraph revealed that HSBC had admitted it risks endangering human rights amid its pivot to Asia.
Lord Alton said: “This incident raises further concerns about HSBC’s priorities and its cosy relationship with the brutal Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime.
“HSBC’s continued backing of the vicious National Security Law lends the CCP-backed Hong Kong government an undeserved veneer of respectability and this is the real scandal for which HSBC should be apologising.”
Sir Sherard’s comments were also criticised by Conservative backbenchers on Monday, including the party’s former leader Iain Duncan-Smith, who branded the HSBC executive “the worst sort of apologist” following the remarks.
A HSBC spokesman said Sir Sherard, who is also chairman of the China-Britain Business Council lobby group and a former British ambassador who held posts in Saudi Arabia, Israel and Afghanistan, made the comments at a private roundtable discussion and shared his personal views.
The comments were made at an event in London under Chatham House rules, which means attendees can use the information gained from discussions but should not reveal the identity of who made the comments.
Sir Sherard said: “I was speaking at a private event under Chatham House rules and my personal comments do not reflect the views of HSBC or the China British Business Council. I apologise for any offence caused.”
Despite the lender’s pivot to China in recent years, HSBC bosses won plaudits with the Government in March after stepping in at short notice to rescue collapsed SVB UK.