HSBC has confirmed that its boss Stuart Gulliver holds a bank account in Switzerland that was set up to hold his bonus payments, after a newspaper reported the existence of the account.
The Guardian said the Derby-born chief executive had £5 million in an account of its Geneva-based private bank, which has been accused of helping some clients avoid tax.
Gulliver's bonus payments were paid into the account until 2003, the Guardian said, adding that Gulliver is domiciled in Hong Kong for legal and tax purposes.
There was no suggestion in the Guardian report that Gulliver had broken any rules.
An HSBC spokeswoman told Reuters that the bank account was set up in 1998, when Gulliver was living and working in Hong Kong to hold his bonus awards.
Full tax was paid in Hong Kong on the bonus payments and Gulliver has voluntarily declared his Swiss account to UK tax authorities for a number of years, the spokeswoman added.
She told the news agency that the account was in the name of a Panamanian company for reasons of confidentiality "and this had no other purpose and provided no tax or other advantage."
She did not say how much the account contained but confirmed that Gulliver was a non-domiciled UK tax resident, Reuters said.
Gulliver moved to Hong Kong in 1980 and became a permanent resident with right of abode, along with his wife who is an Australian national. He moved back to Britain in 2003.
Allegations surfaced earlier this month that HSBC's Geneva-based private bank helped clients conceal million of pounds in tax.
Its office in Geneva was raided by police and prosecutors last week, after Swiss authorities opened an investigation into "aggravated money laundering".
The claims were based on documents leaked in 2008 by a former employee turned whistleblower.
HSBC has said it has reformed its processes and printed an open apology in several British newspapers last week.
Additional reporting by ReutersReuse content