Britain and its dependencies
- The Chancellor should end the tax abuses which reach to the heart of our public finances by indulging the super rich at the expense of all the rest of us.
UK shadow chancellor Gordon Brown, now Prime Minister, writing in 1993
- The City of London,that state within a state which has never transmitted even the smallest piece of usable evidence to a foreign magistrate.
Eva Joly, investigating magistrate who broke open the "Elf Affair," Europe's biggest corruption investigation. In her book Notre affaire à tous, page 243
- Over and over again we have seen that there is in this
country another power than that which has its seat at Westminster. The City of London, a convenient term
for a collection of financial interests, is able to assert itself against the
Government of the country. Those
who control money can pursue a policy at home and abroad contrary to that which
has been decided by the people.
The first step in the transfer of this power is the conversion of the
Bank of England into a State institution.
Former British Prime Minister Clement Attlee, The Labour Party in Perspective, p179
- One inhabitant of Sark was found to be on the board of as many as 2,400 companies, most of which he knew almost nothing about. Another
was a nominee director of the Mil-Tec Corporation, registered in the Isle of Man, which was involved in supplying arms to the Rwandan Hutu
militias at the time of the 1994 genocide.
New Statesman, 1998
- Most of these were former British colonies. Unquestionably it has been the collapse of the British Empire which has bequeathed most micro-states to the New International Order or Disorder.
Tom Nairn, Faces of Nationalism, 1997 p146
- The whole culture of City opacity - the tax havens, the seclusion of liabilities off-balance sheet, the offshore investment vehicles - must be subjected to the harsh glare of public scrutiny. For a generation, the City and Wall Street have assumed an inalienable right to make as much money as possible, in whatever way they saw fit, while paying as little tax as possible. Policy-makers accepted that such unchallenged greed served the greater good. That consensus must end.
The Observer, on the turmoil in global markets, September 2008
- “A Labour Chancellor will not permit tax reliefs to millionaires in offshore tax havens.”
- The very existence of the resident but non-dom category is an outrageous sop to a small number of highly vocal and well-connected rich folk and their lobbyists. The unequal treatment of equals introduced by the creation of the non-dom (resident but non-domiciled for the purpose of income tax and inheritance tax) category undermines respect for the law among the tax paying public at large. . . Every UK resident should pay UK income taxes on his/her worldwide income. End of story.
Willem Buiter, Financial Times, February 2008
- It may be helpful to think of the financial networks that converge on London as a recharged version of the British Empire, held together by modems rather than gunboats and overseen by the mother of all anachronisms, the British political system.
Daniel Finn, London Review of Books, July 2009
- London has long been a thriving centre for the washing of foreign riches and reputations – a place for autocrats and oligarchs to deposit their cash and scrub up their images. As long, of course, as they can afford the sizeable fees.
Philip Stephens, Financial Times, March 2011
- Have you ever examined UK trust law? All our bankers and financial
lawyers say that if you really, really want to hide money, go to London
and set up a trust
Luxembourg politician talking to UK MP Dennis MacShane, after he had complained about bank secrecy
“It has taken me a long time to understand that there is a connection between colonial powers and corruption. “The United
Kingdom has maintained its privileges by allowing British companies to operate from their own tax havens. The expansion in the use of these
jurisdictions has a link to decolonisation. It is a modern form of colonialism," she says adding that many of the big tax havens in the
world are under British control.
Eva Joly, the Norwegian-born investigating magistrate who broke open the “Elf Affair” in Paris, regarded as
Europe’s largest fraud investigation since the Second World War. Interview carried in
- The U.K. Treasury should tell banks receiving investment from the government to close their operations in offshore tax havens. . . It seems totally inappropriate for banks funded by the taxpayer to be systematically avoiding British tax or helping customers to do so.
Vince Cable, UK opposition Liberal Democrat finance spokesman, after the partial nationalisation of several large British banks.
- Swiss justice has frequently collided with a lack of co-operation from British justice, demonstrating a duplicitous gap between what it says and what it does.
Bertrand Bertossa, former top Geneva magistrate, February 2009
- "If some of that (the banking sector) were to migrate overseas that would be unfortunate but given the costs of carrying that financial system around, it may be a price worth paying."
Andrew Haldane, Bank of England, December 2009
- “We feel that this (lack of provision of an effective regulatory system) might be a grave omission, since it is notorious that this particular territory, in common with Bermuda, attracts all sorts of financial wizards, some of whose activities we can well believe should be controlled in the public interest”
Extract from a memorandum concerning the Bahamas dated 3rd November 1961 submitted by Mr W.G.Hulland of the Colonial Office to Mr B.E.Bennett at the Bank of England. (From the Bank of England archive.)
“The entire UK economy has become, in effect, a giant hedge fund with a
massive one-way bet on financial services - and no Plan B for the day when the City goes off the boil.” If and when it does, the costs
of the government's failure to understand the managerial economy will be high - for all of us.
Simon Caulkin, The Observer, before the big banks started collapsing.
- "We cannot run the tax economy of this country as a large-scale version of Chelsea Football Club.''
UK Labour MP Jim Cousins, July 2007
- The HMRC would not generally be able to compel information to be disclosed by Jersey subsidiaries and/or branches of UK institutions. . . A high threshold therefore exists before the Jersey authorities will accede to a request under a TIEA. For example in the past year, there have been just four requests from the US under the terms of the TIEA. There is no automatic exchange of information under any circumstances and no ‘fishing expeditions’ for information. Strict confidentiality provisions in the agreement preclude any information being passed to third parties without the express written consent of the requested country.
Jersey Finance, in a document published in December 2008 claiming to show why it is not a secrecy jurisdiction. Almost immediately after TJN drew attention to this, these words were removed from the web site; it is now permanently available here.
- Jersey is an island that until two decades ago lived off boat-building, cod-fishing, agriculture and tourism. It is run by a group who, although they form a social and political elite, are mostly small business owners and farmers who now find themselves overseeing an industry of global scope involving billions of dollars. 'By and large' says the senior civil servant, 'they are totally out of their depth'
Wall Street Journal , Sept 17, 1996
- The accountancy firm Grant Thornton worked out that the UK’s 54 billionaires paid income tax totalling just £14.7m on their
£126bn combined fortunes.
The Guardian, March 2007
- The libel laws of England and Wales are tilted so heavily against the defendant and involve such monumental costs that they amount, in effect, to censorship by private interests: a sedition law for the exclusive use of millionaires. . . English libel law is an international menace, a national disgrace, a pre-democratic anachronism. It defends crooks, terrorists and tyrants from investigation. It threatens the free speech of people all over the world and causes untold damage to the reputation of this country. And neither the British government nor the British parliament gives a damn.
George Monbiot, July 2008
The house price boom had been " one of the major adverse developments affecting the UK economy in 20 years".
Weale, director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, on how rising house prices represented a transfer of
wealth from young people to old.
- Britain has a particular responsibility for tackling the tax havens since so many of these toxic fiddle factories are initricately linked to the City of London and politically tied to Britain.
John Christensen, Tax Justice Network,
Since the Al-Yamamah deal was signed in 1985, Britain has been supporting, financially and militarily, one of the world's most
despotic regimes. ... This makes a mockery of successive governments' claims to be supporting democracy around the world, and
ensures our security is now entangled with that of the Saudi princes. ... Close down Deso <Britain’s Defence Export Services
Organisation>. Reopen the investigation. Sack the attorney general and the senior civil servants at the Ministry of Defence. Open a public
inquiry to determine what Blair knew. Wage war on tax havens and secret offshore accounts. Hold BAE to account. Then lecture the rest of the
world on good governance.
George Monbiot, The Guardian, June 8,
- We must now build a new global financial order founded on transparency not opacity, rewarding success not excess, responsibility not impunity and which is global not national.
Gordon Brown, September 2008, amid financial chaos, while his officials worked to undermine global agreements on taxation.
- Britain’s legal system allows people depositing money to hide their identities behind a trust system. The consequence of this is that the authorities’ investigations reach no conclusions, because the banks really don’t know who their customers are.
Pierre Mirabaud, president of the Swiss Banking Association, 2004, after Swiss investigators freezing funds from the late Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha followed a paper trail that consistently led to the City of London. He described Britain's exchange of information as "a farce."
- They provide an easily accessible, English speaking, comfortable bolt-hole for every type of avoidance of UK tax . . (and that they are) besmirching the name of the offshore British Islands by attracting tax dodgers that bleed of vital revenue from the UK.
Labour MP George Foulkes, Hansard, 1981 (quoted in Hampton p78)