Global Financial Markets Forum 2016

Tax-dodgers are 'not acceptable': Luxembourg Fin Min

Luxembourg on road to tax transparency: Fin Min

Luxembourg's finance minister told CNBC Monday that a system which allows banks to evade tax was unacceptable, particularly given that some were bailed out by taxpayers following the financial crisis.

Referring to the recent HSBC tax-dodging scandal – in which the bank is accused of helping wealthy Swiss clients evade millions of pounds worth of tax – Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna said the tax system was being reviewed in order to create a "a common, level playing field."

"It is not my call who should run HSBC, but when you've gone through an economic crisis and you have put burdens on tax payers in your country, it is not acceptable that companies are paying less or no taxes at all because the system allows it," he said at the Global Financial Markets Forum in Abu Dhabi.

"The international system is being reviewed so that we have fairer taxation everywhere…If we have that, we'll have a framework that everyone can accept."

The minister's comments come just days after McDonald's was accused by labour unions and a charity of avoiding around 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) in tax between 2009 and 2013 by routing revenues through a Luxembourg unit. The groups called on the European Commission to investigate.

Gramegna said the country's government had "abandoned bank secrecy" and was committed to a system of "tax transparency."

Banking culture needs to change: Paul Tucker

Former deputy governor of the Bank of England, Paul Tucker, also waded into the debate on tax evasion and avoidance. He told CNBC that there was "plainly something wrong" with banking culture in light of the HSBC tax scandal, which mainly took place between 2005 and 2007.

"We need to get back to a banking system where you don't think: 'How do I get round the rules?'…This can create a culture where dishonesty is no longer recognised as wrong," Tucker said, adding that the banking system was undergoing a "repair job" that will "go on for years."

Tucker had been widely expected to replace Mervyn King as Bank of England Governor, before Canadian central banker Mark Carney pipped him to the post. Tucker left shortly after Carney took the reins following 23 years at the central bank, the last four as deputy governor.

Tucker said he would not be surprised if more banking scandals surfaced, and said the public's reaction would ultimately drive change in banking regulation.

- CNBC's Catherine Boyle contributed to this report.