23 JANUARY 2002

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HSBC chief keeps mum on controversial speech

The chief executive of HSBC Malta, whose comments on certain aspects of business practices on the island have irked some of the professional bodies, was keeping tight-lipped on the controversy yesterday, although he questioned the ethics of how his words found their way into the press.

Asked whether he stood by his words, which included a criticism of management structures in family-run companies and suggestions that accountants might be colluding with businesses to produce misleading balance sheets, or accepted that perhaps he could have been more sensitive to the local culture, Tom Robson said he had no comment to make.

But he pointed out that the speech was made at a private presentation and fell short of confirming that he was misquoted, saying only the following:

"I can assure you no one at that gathering had a copy of the speech verbatim or a transcript of my words, so whatever has made its way into the press is secondhand."

Mr Robson also pointed out that he gave a very similar speech at a private presentation a couple of months ago, where various key players from the marketplace were represented, which caused no ripples at all.

 



The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt