Have the Conservative Party been favourable to HSBC?

The Conservatives actions are becoming increasingly more concerning and what has been revealed recently highlights that corruption is rife within the party. There is the current investigation into election fraud, which is the reason why Theresa May called for the general election in the first place. But the most recent revelation that has barely been covered by the media could threaten the party’s existence if it were to be investigated properly and charges made, except there is little chance that could happen.

Recently, it has been revealed that there could be significant evidence of money laundering happening through the Conservative Party. With Roger Mullin, SNP MP, calling for an immediate investigation into the allegations made at the AGM of HSBC Holdings PLC.

The known information is that HSBC made an unusual move during the height of the 2008 banking crisis. Whilst other financial institutions such as Royal Bank of Scotland were forcing companies into financial difficulties by either withdrawing loans or hiking repayments, then asset stripped those companies for profit, causing approximately 12,000 businesses to be forcibly shut down. HSBC made a £214.2 million loan to a company called IPGL. The huge loan itself was an unusual move because IPGL was being run by Michael Spencer, Conservative Party chairman and major donor, at massive losses.

Why would HSBC push through such a huge sum of money at the time of a financial crisis, when other financial institutions were withholding loans?

£5 million has been reported to have been funnelled into the Conservative Party, that includes £1 million directly into the 2010 general election fighting fund. It also covered the cost the transport major Conservative figures including David Cameron and George Osbourne to the Davos World Economic Forum just before the 2010 general election. The evidence suggests that HSBC used a failing business to launder money into political donations. During this period, HSBC were also laundering hundreds of millions of pounds into for Mexican drug cartels and funding terrorist organisations.

After winning the 2010 general election they acted very favourably towards HSBC by making Stephen Green a Lord, where he still sits as an unelected peer. In 2011, Green was then made Minister of State for Trade and Investment. 2012 saw Osbourne hamper the US led investigation into HSBC stating the bank was too big to fail and could lead to “financial contagion”. In March 2013, George Osbourne was the only finance minister in the EU to vote against limiting banker’s bonuses to 200% of their final salary, losing 26-1.

September 2013 saw Michael Spencer’s firm fined £55 million for rigging the Libor rate, that month Cameron attempted to make Spencer a lord but was stopped by the ethics committee. Following Osbourne’s defeat in the EU, he wasted £50,000 of public money fighting a lawsuit against the 200% bonus cap, he gave up in December 2014. In 2015 Camilla Cavendish, The Times editor, was appointed a policy advisor to number 10, following spiking the original investigative story about HSBC fraud after dinner with David Cameron.

In 2015 Osbourne refused to confirm whether he had discussions with HSBC about the banks collusion in tax evasion prior Green’s ministerial appointment, this was after he had washed his hands of the HSBC Swiss accounts scandal. 2016 saw Osbourne delay a report by the Competition and Markets Authority, to reduce the dominance of the big 4. This move was widely regarded as a ploy to placate HSBC. Following Cameron’s resignation, he attempted to again make Spencer a lord but was stopped again however, Camilla Cavendish did become a lord.

This story has been around for years but at every opportunity it has been suppressed by the government. The whole scenario is beginning to look a bit Yes, Minster but has huge implications on the state of British politics within the last 9 years at the very least. HSBC are entitled to make donations (records show that they don’t which would make the backdoor scenario peculiar) and as it is stated Michael Spencer is a known donor to the Conservative Party and his company IPGL did pay off the loan given to them. But it doesn’t detract from the favours clearly given to those of HSBC and the bank itself afterwards. Whatever the truth of the situation, there should be more transparency and a reform to political party donations.

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