A new book, ‘Treasure Islands’ ( http://treasureislands.org ) by Nicholas Shaxson, has been published.
Please read the following articles in The Guardian, describing the very corrupt reality of tax havens:
According to these articles Jersey is high on the list of corrupt places. Cayman Islands, the second biggest tax haven in the world and a British Overseas Territory, is highlighted as another of these really corrupt and illegal places. Who will finally expose and rein in these places of illegal profiteering?
A quote from the second article:
‘The offshore world is all around us. More than half of world trade passes, at least on paper, through tax havens. More than half of all banking assets and a third of foreign direct investment by multinational corporations are routed offshore. An impression has been created in sections of the world’s media, since a series of stirring denunciations of tax havens by world leaders in 2008 and 2009, that the offshore system has been dismantled, or at least tamed. In fact quite the opposite has happened. The offshore system is in very rude health — and growing fast.
It is no coincidence that London, once the capital of the greatest empire the world has known, is the centre of the most important part of the global offshore system. The City’s offshore network has three main parts. Two inner rings – Britain’s crown dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man; and its overseas territories, such as the Cayman Islands – are substantially controlled by Britain, and combine futuristic offshore finance with medieval politics. The outer ring comprises a more diverse array of havens, such as Hong Kong, which are outside Britain’s direct control but have strong links.
This network of offshore satellites does several things. First, it gives the City a truly global reach. The British havens scattered all around the world’s time zones attract and catch mobile international capital flowing to and from nearby jurisdictions, just as a spider’s web catches passing insects. Much of the money attracted to these places, and the business of handling that money, is then funnelled through to London.
Second, this British spider’s web lets the City get involved in business that might be forbidden in Britain, providing sufficient distance to allow financiers in London plausible deniability of wrongdoing. Much (but not all) of the financial activity hosted in these places breaks laws and avoids regulation elsewhere.’
UPDATE 14 August 2011:
On 5 August 2011 The Guardian published another very good article addressing the issues around corporate tax avoidance:
Time to tackle tax avoidance and raise corporate tax
A good interview on Democracy Now with Nicholas Shaxson, author of Treasure Islands, exposing the corrupt world of offshore banking and tax havens: