Wednesday, November 13, 2013

New Financial Secrecy Index Pulls Punches

London-based Tax Justice Network has pulled its punches in the first edition of a global Financial Secrecy Index that lists countries/territories managing some $32 trillion in black money and other assets.

You have to read the footnotes to know that “the United Kingdom with its satellite secrecy jurisdictions would be ranked first in the FSI by a large margin” if counted as a unit.

The FSI scores of Britain’s “overseas territories” and “crown dependencies” add up to “2162 or 3170,” compared to 1765 for Switzerland, which tops the list.

As the list stands, Britain is 21st.

Not only is Switzerland ahead of it, so are the United States (6), Germany (8), Japan (10), Canada (17), and Austria (18).

The share of black money that Britain actually manages is likely to be much larger than the report estimates, for the country’s bankers dominate in over half the listed areas and have key roles in every country, including all the majors. (India, at #32, is certainly one of them, for despite our well-developed banking industry the criminal element is concentrated in Brit institutions.)

The TJN report received very little media attention, especially in Britain, where its dramatic reminder of reality slid quickly into oblivion. (I heard about it first on Russian TV a strange hybrid of British-accented presenters and American paranoiacs, more engaged in running down the USA than in boosting Russia. Even there it got hardly any play.)

Since my last post, some parts of the British media seem to trying to explain the fire sale of national assets to the Chinese as a deep laid plan to keep London the world's financial centre.

A 9 November piece in The Express headlined "The Chinese Give the British Economy a Boost" began: "They already own Weetabix, Savile Row tailor Gieves & Hawkes and stakes in Heathrow Airport and Thames Water but that represents a mere trickle compared with the wave of money the Chinese are about to unleash on the UK."

The paper reported that the "property sector has become the bridgehead through which money has started to pour in, not just from China but from other wealthy parts of Asia too in anticipation of a boom in banking and foreign exchange."It drew a rosy picture of what is to come.

As media graduate from ignoring elite criminality to actively lying about it, the British government is hurrying to adopt a draconian new law that will make "public nuisance" punishable with up to two years in prison and "unlimited fines."

The draft bill says it will apply to children as young as ten, and cover such things as loud swearing.

Public expressions of rambunctious joy at all the "boost" the Chinese are about to deliver to the economy would definitely be covered.

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