Through its network of tax havens, the U.K. is the fulcrum of a system that benefits the rich and powerful writes Adam Ramsay.
Perhaps more than anything else, the Pandora Papers — the tranche of documents published Sunday night, which reveal the secret wealth of the world’s rich and powerful — tell a story about Britain.
There’s the role, for instance, played by the British Virgin Islands, an overseas territory of the U.K. that functions as a tax haven. Czechia’s multimillionaire prime minister used the territory to hide his ownership of a chateau in France. Others, including the family of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Vladimir Putin’s PR man, have made similar use of the islands to conceal wealth — while Tony and Cherie Blair reportedly saved £312,000 in stamp duty when they bought a London property from a company registered in the British Virgin Islands in 2017.
More details will emerge in the coming days. But one thing is already clear. This isn’t a story about countries on the periphery of the world economy. It is a story about how the British state drives a global system in which the richest extract wealth from the rest.
British Through & Through
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