Michael Spencer, HSBC & #torydirtymoney
This is Michael Spencer.
You may have heard about him before. He is personal friend of David Cameron and a prominent donor to the Conservative Party. Until 2010 he was the Party Treasurer.
He made the news when he settled a £4.7 million bill with Inland Revenue after he was caught avoiding taxes.
Anyway, he also owns a spread betting firm called IPGL Ltd.
In 2008 and 2009 IPGL Ltd reported heavy losses. In this period his struggling company was loaned £214.2 million by HSBC.
While IPGL was reporting heavy losses, and at the same time it received a massive lone from HSBC, and when Spencer was Conservative Party Treasurer, the company still managed to donate millions of pounds to the Tories.
Around the same time as this was going on, three separate HSBC board members also made substantial donations to the Conservative party. The most prolific of these donors was Simon Robertson.
So to sum up, high ranking board members of HSBC have been donating to the Conservative Party. Furthermore, HSBC loaned a significant amount to a loss making company owned by a high ranking Tory, and some of that money was donated to the party.
What do you get in return for that type of money?
- Well, in 2015 George Osborne intervened to stop the US government from prosecuting HSBC for laundering Mexican drug money.
- The bank was also treated lightly by HMRC after it was found to have enabled tax avoidance on a massive scale.
- Lobbying by HSBC was successful in forcing the government to roll back on the bank levy which was meant to get back some of the tax-payers’ money that was used to bail out the banks after the crash in 2008.
- Lobbying by HSBC managed to dilute any measures to regulate the banks after the 2008 financial crisis.
Currently the Tories are trying to paint a picture of themselves as a party who normal people should vote for in order to get a good Brexit deal for all. Although they don’t like to talk about actual policy. The only thing we hear from them is one vapid soundbite.
Strong and Stable, Coming Together, Strengthening My Hand
However, it is clear that the Tories are not the party that can bring people together.
They are a party for the super-rich who have no problem accepting vast sums of money in exchange for sweeping wrongdoings under the carpet. This sort of behaviour goes right to the top. In a glaring conflict of interest the husband of the Prime Minister works for one of the world’s biggest investment companies.
Much of the money the Tories collected from their dodgy donors was used to break election rules in their narrow victory of 2015.
Meanwhile, for the rest of us, living standards have stagnated. For the worst-off in society, the social safety net has been slashed. More children are slipping into poverty, the disabled are being victimised, people declared fit to work are dying in shocking numbers and steady well paid jobs have been replaced by a gig-economy and zero-hour contracts.
Yet, according to the polls the Tories are about to win by a landslide. Why you would fall for the empty soundbites and give a massive mandate to the party of Michael Spencer, HSBC and dirty money is beyond me.
Perhaps it is because none of the mainstream publications will spend much time covering issues like this until after the election? I guess they are too busy becoming hysterical about Diane Abbot getting some figures wrong.
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