Real Media: Rona Fairhead, HSBC and the BBC
Real Media interviews HSBC whistleblower Nicholas Wilson about the UK’s newly appointed International Trade Minister Rona Fairhead and her controversial past as BBC Trust chair and HSBC director
NICHOLAS WILSON: Rona Fairhead was head of risk in the United States, HSBC North America and at the time that the Mexican drug cartel money laundering was going on at the time. They were laundering money for terrorists, connections with al Qaeda, through Saudi Arabia and this Forex. Virtually all the things that are catching up with HSBC now, she was in charge in America at the time. Well, she was in charge of risk and audit, so she should have known what was going on. She was the head of the BBC as well, over the last three years.
I shouldn’t be surprised really, but the timing was extraordinary. A, before the Tory conference. B, on the day that Nick Robinson sort of wrote an article in the Guardian about the effect that independent media like you people have on the mainstream media. C, the day before, i.e. yesterday, it was announced that HSBC had been fined $175 million in the States for Forex fiddle. I mean, what, how do these Tories think? It’s just extraordinary. It’s completely undemocratic.
I mean, given her involvement with a criminal bank like HSBC that May has now made her international trade minister, I suspect that May sees that the only way Britain is going to trade after Brexit is criminals, basically. We’ll probably start laundering money for drug cartels and terrorists again because I think that’s why she was appointed. I mean she’s a perfect minister because she’s got all the contacts, and the tax evasion in Switzerland as well. She knows how to avoid tax.
Britain will, A, be a tax haven and B, be even though London is the money laundering center of the world, I mean it will be even better when she’s the International Trade Minister. She’ll be able to sell money laundering as Britain’s great export.
During the early part of 2014, there was lots of speculation about who was going to be the new head of the BBC. Was it going to be, and Seth Cole was, even though Cameron had previously, earlier in the year said he wanted it to be a woman, he then started promoting Seth Cole, which was all very strange. But one name in all the speculation that wasn’t mentioned was Rona Fairhead. Nobody ever knew that she was being considered.
On the 30th of June, I found out that HSBC and the FCA had colluded together to lie to me in a Freedom of Information Act request. I did a Freedom of Information Act request and asked them what they’d done about my complaint. They wrote and said, “Oh we really haven’t done anything because the office of fair trading allowed, said that the HSBC were allowed to add these charges in accordance with their contracts,” which I knew wasn’t true. In fact, it was 100% the opposite. The OFT made an order telling them to stop doing it because their contracts didn’t allow it.
My colleague Gerald Benjamin, he asked questions at the AGM and then wrote to HSBC after the AGM following up his question. They wrote to him and said the OFT order allowed HSBC to add these charges according to the terms of their, exactly the same wording, exactly the same punctuation, exactly the same paragraphing as the one that the FCA had sent to me. So, we called them out. They’d colluded. They’ve agreed to it.
They’ve agreed it. They have apologized. The Treasury Select Committee, Jesse Norman tore them to pieces. Martin Wheatley, who was the head at the time, agreed. Anyway, I blogged about this collusion, and on that very day, my website started being looked at by Dow Jones and the Institute of Securities and Investments, which is the bankers professional body.
Then the following month, this blog, not my complete website, it’s not as though people were searching. People were going straight to this blog called Smoking Gun, the BBC, Houses of Parliament, Dow Jones, HFC, HSBC, FCA, Houses of Parliament, it was marked, Houses of Parliament, Bromley, No, Johnson was the MP for Alpington, which is in London borough. Was it Alpington? But he’s MP for the London borough of Bromley. There were all these visits, and during this time, also Cameron was visiting John Lewis and so on.
Then at the end of July, it was announced by Sonny Javit that Rona Fairhead was going to be the new chair of the BBC Trust. Everybody was like, who? She had no broadcast experience. She knew nothing about broadcast TV or radio. Nobody could understand it. She was also, as everybody knows the director of HSBC which she carried on doing even when she was at the BBC, but she always said that her priority was the BBC which I think means she’s probably insane. If you’re earning half a million and your priority is 100,000, but that’s, you know.
I’ve looked into her appointment, how she was appointed. In my opinion, it was unlawful and corrupt, and I can show you, I can show you why that is. I can read you a couple of things I received. The rules state, all new tender documents and contracts over 10,000 pounds should now be published on contract finder, which is a website. I did a Freedom of Information Act request to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, basically Sonny Javit’s department at that time, and I said, where was it? Where was it, the tender’s at the time.
I got the response, “On this occasion, eight suppliers were invited to tender for the work to ensure proportionate competition. This invitation to tender was issued on the 14th of May 2014. Our current policy is that opportunities over 10,000 pounds procured by DCMS will be advertised on Contracts Finder or Executive search requirements may be procured via the CCS Executive search dynamic purchasing system, which is open for new suppliers.”
I then searched on contracts finder to see where the tender documents were. I wrote back to them and said, “Well, they’re not there.” Then they wrote back to me and said, “As set out in our previous answer on this occasion, on the 14th of May 2014, eight suppliers were approached directly rather than through notices on contracts finder or the CCS executive search dynamic purchasing system, inviting them to tender for the executive search role.”
Now that’s breaking the rules because they didn’t advertise it. Then what happened is it said the tenders must be submitted no later than 12:00 pm on the 21st of May. The invitation went out on the 14th of May, so that gives seven days. They’re asking eight firms to submit tender documents within seven days. Anyway, Saxton Bampfylde won the contract, who, one of the partners is the wife of the BBC director general.
The contract is dated the 24th of May. That’s ten days after it was advertised. Within 10 days, it was all tied up. The contract’s dated 24th of May. 24th of May 2014 was a Saturday on a bank holiday weekend which is really rather odd. Of course, it was for 30,000 pounds which is the maximum. The point of tendering was to get the work as cheap as you can with a firm that can do it to a good standard but it went to a connection with the BBC at the highest price.
It was completely irregular. Then she was there, while she was at the BBC, there was no reporting of HSBC crimes. This is denied to me by BBC journalists but fact of the matter is, if you search on the BBC website, there is just nothing there, and they even lie about HSBC stories. Just like this recent fine, 175 million not reported. Well, I didn’t see anything yesterday. Maybe there’s something today but I doubt it.
She, that was her job, to keep the BBC stumped about particularly the fraud I’m exposing because it involves, I mean, recently HSBC agreed with the FCA that they would voluntarily repay 4 million pounds, which is a joke because it should be over 100 million pounds. But the reason it’s being kept quiet is because A, HSBC has signed a deferred prosecution agreement in the States, which means they’re on probation for five years, so they can’t be caught out doing anything naughty during that period, so they have to keep quiet about it. B, all the other scandals involving HSBC are abroad, Switzerland, Mexico, around the world or Argentina or Brazil.
But this is on the British High Street. They were defrauding customers at John Lewis, Dickson’s Curries, B&Q, BC World and so on. A whole tranche of High Street Stores. It will be disastrous for the reputation, disastrous for HSBC to have this come out and it still has not come out.
Then we have to talk about her husband, Tom Fairhead. He was a councilor at the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea which is the borough in which Grenfell is. He was one of the founders of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea tenant management organization, who were responsible for the refurbishment of Grenfell. He also initiated a scheme where rich tenants of Kensington and Chelsea would get a kickback if they paid their council tax in one go. They got 100 pounds kickback. The Council was making these decisions to cut corners, cut costs on the, but at the same time giving tenants, residents a kickback on council tax.
I don’t know what you call it. I call it corruption. It’s just, I mean, there’s nothing new about corruption. It’s as old as politics, but I’ve never known it to be so, so blatant with the Tories at the moment. As many know, mafia expert Roberto Saviano has said Britain is the most corrupt country in the world, and I believe it. That doesn’t mean if you get stopped by a policeman, you give him 10 quid and he’ll let you go. I don’t mean that. He doesn’t mean that.
He means, and you might say, oh well what about Nigeria? What about Afghanistan? The point is all the crooked money around the world is laundered through the city of London. We are the money laundering capital and a tax haven. All our dependent tax havens, it all goes through the city of London, so Rona Fairhead is going to be perfect International Trade Minister because she can sell, she can market our corruption.