In the wake of the Swiss Leaks allegations, the Geneva-based Interpol Foundation for a Safer World, an initiative of the global law enforcement agency Interpol, has asked HSBC CEO Stuart Gulliver to relinquish his position on its board.
"Furthermore, with due regard to the presumption of innocence and pursuant to the Foundation’s Code of Good Governance and Internal Regulations, Interpol has proposed to the President of the Foundation that Mr Gulliver should temporarily suspend his membership with the board of the Foundation until the allegations are clarified," an Interpol spokesperson told Swiss public television, RTS, on Monday.
The foundation also emphasised that it "an independent body which does not legally and administratively belong to Interpol".
The Swiss Leaks revelations – which have accused the Swiss branch of British bank HSBC of being involved in helping criminal elements with tax evasion and money laundering – appear to have made Gulliver more of a liability than an asset on the foundation’s board, especially for one charged with tackling global crime.
The foundation was established by Interpol in 2013 to help implement Interpol’s vision of “Connecting Police for a Safer World”. The idea behind it was that a safer world is a collective responsibility, requiring a global alliance from governments, businesses and civil society.
One of the foundation’s main objectives is to ensure “clean and prosperous businesses which operate uncorrupted, where investors can nurture emerging economies in confidence, and consumers are empowered to make smart decisions”.
Gulliver had an important role in implementing this objective. He was nominated to be the co-leader for the foundation’s initiative “Protecting Banks and Financial Institutions” along with Jean-Marie Sander, chairman of Credit Agricole.
Other board members from the business world include chairman and CEO of Nissan and Renault Carlos Ghosn, chairman of Tata trusts Ratan Tata, and founder of the Abraaj Group Arif Naqvi.