Ed Miliband to repeat 'defamatory' allegations over Tory donor Lord Fink's alleged tax avoidance

The Labour leader is expected to repeat the allegations outside of Parliamentary privilege today during a speech today

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Ed Miliband is expected to repeat allegations that Tory donor Lord Fink engaged in tax avoidance as the row over activities at HSBC's Swiss banking arm escalates.

The peer branded the Labour leader's jibe in the Commons yesterday “untrue and defamatory” and challenged him to step out from the cover of parliamentary privilege so he could take legal action.

Party sources confirmed that Mr Miliband - who is launching education policy at his old school in north London this afternoon - will make the claim again.

Asked on the BBC's Newsnight whether Mr Miliband would stand by the allegation, deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman said: “Yes, and he stands by the assertion that these questions must be answered that are in The Guardian - and there they are - there are concerns about tax avoidance.”

In a statement earlier, Lord Fink said he had a Swiss bank account because he was working for the Man Group in the country for four years from 1996 to 2000.

“During this time I had need of a local bank account to do simple things like receive my Swiss franc salary and pay grocery bills,” he said.

“As I already banked with HSBC in London, I set up an account with HSBC. I subsequently set up an account with Credit Suisse as they had a branch much closer to my home and office.

”I submitted tax returns in both Switzerland and Britain showing my revised tax status, which was accepted by the Inland Revenue.

“The only way I have ever sought to depress my income tax liability is by giving a lot of my income to charity.”

He told Mr Miliband: “I challenge you to repeat your allegation outside the House of Commons - or to withdraw it publicly.”

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