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HSBC publishes apology advert in the Mail On Sunday and The Sun On Sunday

HSBC has taken out a full page advert in the Mail On Sunday and The Sun On Sunday containing an apology over claims that its Swiss banking arm helped wealthy customers dodge taxes.

The ad, which appeared today, features an open letter penned by group chief executive Stuart Gulliver to HSBC's customers, shareholders and colleagues.

The advert states: "We would like to provide some reassurance and state some of the facts that lie behind the stories.

"The media focus has been on historical events that show the standards to which we operate today were not universally in place in our Swiss operations eight years ago.

"We must show we understand that the societies we serve expect more from us. We therefore offer our sincerest apologies."

Earlier this week Gulliver called the media coverage surrounding the Swiss banking revelations as a "painful experience".