>Tax havens and the men who stole the world | openDemocracy

Posted: January 18, 2011 in duchy of cornwall, isle of man

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Let’s follow Shaxson through the rings of the British spider’s web: the inner ring of the Crown dependencies, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man; the overseas territories, the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, the Virgin Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Gibraltar, all of which have close but ambiguous political relationships with the UK; and the outer ring, Hong Kong (which the Chinese now exploit as their own offshore jewel along with HSBC), Dubai, the Bahamas, etc which are politically independent of the UK but ‘deeply connected’ to the City of London. This network of offshore satellites catches international capital flowing to and from different jurisdictions across time zones and funnels the money and the business of handling it through the City – business possibly illegal in the UK, bur far enough away to be deniable. “Much (but not all) of the financial activity hosted in these places breaks laws and avoids regulation elsewhere,” says Shaxson.
The above is an extract from the interesting article –Tax havens and the men who stole the world | openDemocracy– which descibes the equally interesting book by –Treasure Island– by Nicholas Shaxon. If you want to read something that’ll get your blood boiling then this’ll fir the bill.
It’s interesting to reflect that if things had taken a different direction then the Duchy of Cornwall (ie Cornwall) could also have become one of the “inner ring” of tax havens. The Duchies constitution is such that it exists outside the UK’s tax jurisdiction. Today this constitutional peculiarity benefits only one man -the Duke- and not the residents of his Duchy. It seems that at some time in the past the UK government and the Duchy came to an agreement whereby the Duke would not exercise his sovereignty over the territory of Cornwall and Parliament would leave him in peace. Of course this happened behind closed doors and without consulting the Cornish but then such is the nature of British democracy.
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