SIR HOWARD ELSTON, the reporter who stands up for the weak, reveals the truth and is never short of a freebie sits down with HSBC international regulatory boss Tristan da Cunha over the bank’s plan to leave Britain and move somewhere more kind to finance
SIR HOWARD ELSTON: So, you’re outta here – scarpering, in fact.
TRISTAN DA CUNHA: We review our prime HQ location on a tri-annual basis and feel the temperature is better outside London.
SHE: The reason?
TDC: The bank levy is extortionate, you Brits may leave the EU… and there is always Labour lurking about wanting to bloody well tighten things up even more. Even now, regulation is strangling our best efforts.
SHE: Well, you did do a boo-boo or two. And regulation can… errr… help decision-making. For instance, there is the £2.4 billion fine for foreign exchange manipulation…
TDC: Yes, unfortunate…
TDC: Yes, we got caught.
SHE: And the £1.2 billion slap on the wrist for laundering Mexican drug money.
TDC: A bad state of affairs, I admit.
TDC: We got caught.
SHE: And helping the rich to evade tax with secret accounts in Geneva?
TDC: I still argue it was not illegal.
SHE: But one of the heirs to the Nina Ricci perfume dynasty was just sent to jail for this tax dodging scam.
TDC: A source of shame.
TDC: She got caught.
SHE: So, it’s off to China, is it?
TDC: Well, it was our original home
SHE: China? Isn’t that a communist state with no real democracy and a vile record on human rights?
TDC: Could be just the ticket.
SHE: Tristan da Cunha, a pleasure indeed.
TDC: Yes, and please do drop in to take a look at our Classic Gold Extra ISA which now will return 0.2% per annum if you drip £5,000 per week into a deposit account.