Michael Geoghegan, the chief executive of Europe's biggest bank HSBC Holdings , is set to give his bonus to charity, newspapers have reported, following a high-profile row over the sums paid to bankers.

Three British newspapers reported on Sunday that Geoghegan would accept his bonus but give it to several charities. HSBC declined to comment.

The news follows moves by the heads of Barclays and bailed-out Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland to waive their right to a 2009 annual bonus.

It also follows building anger over fat cat banker pay which has become a major political issue in Britain in the run up to an election expected in May, particularly with respect to banks rescued by taxpayers and still making losses as they emerge from the credit crisis.

The Sunday Telegraph cited sources at the bank who pointed out it had received no direct taxpayer money, had paid dividends throughout the financial crisis and should be allowed to make its own decision on how it pays its executives.

Geoghegan stands to be awarded a bonus of four times his basic salary of 1.1 million pounds ($1.68 million).

HSBC had also been discussing with investors a plan to increase base pay for its top executives, shareholders have told Reuters, but it has shelved plans to award Geoghegan a pay rise of more than a third, the FT reported last week.

HSBC will report full-year results on Monday.

(Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Louise Heavens)