Comments: General Synod reports

The Madeleine Davies article raises a number of important points: I'd like to start with:

'The Sub-Dean of Westminster, the Ven. Andrew Tremlett, wrote on Facebook last Saturday in defence of the "important and timely" report, and of Lord Green. He suggested that the principle of "innocent until proven guilty" had given way to "guilt by association".'

I entirely agree with the principle of "innocent until proven guilty", but there is another principle involved: that of acquainting yourself with the facts before alleging that someone is being smeared by "guilt by association".

Tha facts are that HSBC pleaded guilty to charges of money laundering the profits of drug cartels, terrorist organisations, and transferring funds from proscribed countries including Iran, all of which took place during the time that Lord Green was in charge of HSBC.

The guilty pleas have been known since 2012, so it appears that the Ven. Andrew Tremlett hasn't bothered to acquaint himself with the facts before accusing others of smearing Lord Green. He seems to be remarkably selective about applying the 'innocent until proven guilty' principle.

The other interesting point is that the Church's statement about Lord Green was not, as I originally thought, a spontaneous response to the most recent revelations in the media, but a reply to a direct challenge by the Financial Times.

The leadership of the Church obviously has a long way to go before it grasps that the principles of honesty, openness and transparency apply to them; it is difficult to see how trust in that leadership can be restored...

Posted by Stevie Gamble at Saturday, 21 February 2015 at 3:53am GMT

Andy Lightbown has replied to the Church Times article here

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Saturday, 21 February 2015 at 9:26am GMT

Indeed, it is not the tenor of the critics of the report that is questionable, it is the way they were attacked as if their expertise in the very field in question somehow disqualified them.
It was if they were beeping dismissed as failed hacks who need to be replaced by inspired teaching from novel sources.

The key failure here, apart from the way the report group was made up, was in the delivery of the message, it seemed incomplete and with skill could have been tied to the faith and order report.
Lord Green is a sensible man, his recent resignation demonstrates he understands at this time he has a toxic presence. The leadership of the CofE could take a leaf out of his book

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Saturday, 21 February 2015 at 9:42am GMT

It may also be helpful to know that on 18th February, following a raid on the Geneva premises of HSBC, the Swiss authorities issued a statement from the prosecutors which said:

"Following the recent revelations related to the HSBC Private Bank (Switzerland), the public prosecutor announces the opening of a criminal procedure against the bank... for aggravated money laundering."

The report in the International Business Times goes on to state:

'In addition, the US Department of Justice stated that HSBC's "blatant failure to implement proper anti-money laundering controls facilitated the laundering of at least $881m in drug proceeds through the US financial system".'

It was this which lead to the payment of $1.9 billion by HSBC in 2012.

The Financial Times has reported that the Swiss investigation centres on concerns that the bank was laundering the profits of drug traffickers, arms traffickers and terrorists.

The fact that the Church did not make its statement until it was forced to do so by a direct challenge by the FT is even more alarming in the light of this information; the fact that it deliberately chose to omit all reference to the 2012 drug money laundering settlement seems, regrettably, to suggest that it has gone past the stage of deliberately averting its gaze, and reached the point of downright disingenuity.

Posted by Stevie Gamble at Saturday, 21 February 2015 at 11:09pm GMT

Andy Lightbown hits the nail on the head when he quotes the Benedictine Rule for the important disposition of authority in the (Church) community:

"when any business of importance is to be considered in the monastery, the abbot or abbess should summon the whole community together and,
the community should be summoned for such consultation because it often happens that the Lord makes the best course clear to one of the younger members."

Andy's question here, further explains the predicament: "Benedict endorses and actively seeks out the ‘wisdom of youth’. Does the Church?" - begs the right sort of question to be asked.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 2 March 2015 at 9:08am GMT
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