Boris Johnson defends London's financial sector
Sunday 22 July 2012
Boris Johnson today defended London's financial sector from international criticism in the wake of the latest banking scandal.
The Mayor of London said Americans "slagging off" the City following allegations of money laundering at HSBC made earlier this week in the US should remember the sub-prime crisis that triggered the global recession started there.
Mr Johnson also warned against an "orgy of stable door banging and excessive regulation" for the financial services sector and claimed there were many international competitors that would be "only too happy to knock London off its perch".
"My message to Americans who may be slagging off London, the sub-prime crisis frankly began in the United States, not here," he told BBC1's Andrew Marr Show.
"The most important thing is for the economy to get back to growth and for confidence to return. I don't think we want to go through an endless orgy of stable door banging and excessive regulation on the financial services sector, which is actually one of the few sectors in the economy which is showing signs of growth and putting on jobs."
It comes as Labour continues to heap pressure on Trade Minister Lord Green over claims of money laundering at HSBC while he was in charge.
Chris Leslie, shadow financial secretary to the Treasury, has written to the peer calling for him to publicly answer a raft of questions about what he knew about the alleged wrong-doing at the bank.
A US Senate committee found HSBC accepted more than £9 billion from high-risk money-laundering countries such as Mexico and Russia without properly monitoring transactions.
Lord Green spent three years as chief executive of the bank before being appointed chairman in 2006, a role he remained in until he was brought into government by Prime Minister David Cameron in 2010.
Mr Leslie demanded to know how much Head of Compliance David Bagley told him about problems with the bank's anti-money laundering systems.
He also pressed the minister to admit whether he knew that safeguards designed to block transactions to those with potential links to drug cartels, rogue regimes or terrorist organisations were being dodged.
The letter calls on him to reveal if he raised concerns about the clearing of suspicious volumes of bulk travellers' cheques.
Mr Leslie wrote: "I am confident that you can answer all these questions completely, but want to encourage you to address them also in the public domain.
"It is important that ministers are seen to be as open as possible with the public and to account for their actions. I look forward to hearing from you shortly."
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