LONDON — One of Britain’s leading actresses has decided to take the HSBC tax avoidance scandal into her own hands.
Emma Thompson and her husband, Greg Wise, are threatening to boycott the tax man until HSBC executives have been prosecuted for operating tax avoidance schemes. The world’s second largest bank has its headquarters in London, but British prosecutors have filed no charges over allegations that the bank’s Swiss arm was helping wealthy customers avoid paying their share of tax.
"I want to stop paying tax, until everyone pays tax,” Wise told the London Evening Standard. “I have actively loved paying tax, because I am a profound f****** socialist and I believe we are all in it together. But I am disgusted with HMRC. I am disgusted with HSBC. And I’m not paying a penny more until those evil bastards go to prison.”
The actor (Sense and Sensibility) said the “missus” was keen to join the mutiny. “Em’s on board. She agrees. We’re going to get a load of us together. A movement. They can’t send everyone to prison. But we’ll go to prison if necessary. I mean it,” he said.
Referring to the wave of popular uprisings that swept across Europe in the mid-nineteenth century, he said: “It’s going to be like 1848 all over again.”
Thompson (Love Actually, Saving Mr. Banks) is a well-known activist, although the close friend of Prince Charles has always remained staunchly Establishment. She hasn’t responded to her husband’s call for all out revolution.
Wise continued: “HSBC haven’t even been slapped on the wrist [because of this] beautiful grey area between avoidance and evasion. It’s iniquitous. We need to do something—come on!”
Halfway through his stirring rant to the Standard, he seemed to realize he had become a little carried away: “I sound like Russell f****** Brand, don’t I?”