Sunday, April 10, 2016

Dan Glazebrook — Britain is the heart and soul of tax evasion

The British government’s claim to be tackling tax evasion is about as credible as Al Capone claiming to be leading the fight against organized crime. In fact, Britain is at the heart of the global tax haven network, and continues to lead the fight against its regulation.

The 11 and a half million leaked documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca have proven, once again, what we have already known for some time – that the ‘offshore world’ of tax havens is a den of money laundering and tax evasion right at the heart of the global financial system.
Despite attempts by Western media to twist the revelations into a story about the ‘corruption’ of official enemies – North Korea, Syria, China and, of course, Putin, who is not even mentioned in the documents – the real story is the British government’s assiduous cultivation of the offshore world. For whilst corruption exists in every country, what enables that corruption to flourish and become institutionalized is the network of secretive financial regimes that allow the world’s biggest criminals and fraudsters to escape taxation, regulation and oversight of their activities. And this network is a conscious creation of the British state.
Of the 215,000 companies identified in the Mossack Fonseca documents, over half were incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, one single territory in what tax haven expert Nicholas Shaxson calls a “spider’s web” of well over a dozen separate UK-controlled dens of financial chicanery.
In addition, the UK was ranked number two of those jurisdictions where the banks, law firms and other middlemen associated with the Panama Papers operate, only topped by Hong Kong, whose institutional environment is itself a creation of the UK. And of the ten banks who most frequently asked Mossack Fonseca to set up paper companies to hide their client’s finances, four were British: HSBC, Coutts, Rothschild and UBS.….
The entire UK-controlled web is home to offshore deposits estimated in 2009 to be worth $3.2 trillion, 55 percent of the global total….
The remnant of empire.
Whilst ostensibly involved in a process of ‘decolonization’, in fact the UK hung on to a large global network of small, sparsely-populated islands: “The British empire”, Shaxson wrote, “had faked its own death.” These islands were to serve the same imperial purpose the empire had always had: the projection of British power and the channeling of African, Asian and Latin American wealth into Britain. But whilst some of the islands, such as Diego Garcia and the Falklands, were to serve as crucial military outposts, many of the others were developed as a means of facilitating the financial plunder of the former colonial world.
In Shaxson’s words, the role of these tax havens is to “capture passing foreign business and channel it to London just as a spider’s web catches insects” whilst also acting as a “money laundering filter that lets the City get involved in dirty business while providing it with enough distance to maintain plausible deniability.”…
Indeed, much of Cameron’s battling with Europe has been driven precisely by the desire to maintain the impunity of the City and its web of tax havens in the face of attempts by the EU to regulate the banking sector.…
Britain is the heart and soul of tax evasion
Dan Glazebrook


Roger Erickson said...

That's the legacy of an aristocratic (i.e., gangster) system.

nivekvb said...

That new book he is writing looks good. I will have to keep an eye out for it.

'He is currently researching a book on US-British use of sectarian death squads against independent states and movements from Northern Ireland and Central America in the 1970s and 80s to the Middle East and Africa today.'