Monday, May 11, 2009

On chums regulating chums

TJN's Senior Adviser Richard Murphy is writing in the Guardian today, looking at the similarities between a current scandal in Britain over parliamentarians' expenses, and what happens in tax havens. In a nutshell:

"the system for MPs' expenses was, in effect, identical to that which exists in tax havens. There are rule books in those places that look tough, but to which little attention is given and where all but the most blatant abuse is ignored. "Chums regulating chums" is the rule of the day, much as it was in the House of Commons."

This TJN blogger, having spent time in recent weeks in five of the world's most important tax havens (London, New York, Jersey, Cayman, Switzerland), can only say, with respect to the tax haven description: "how very, very true."

And this, of course, must not be forgotten:

"Both the expense-abusing MPs and the tax professionals who promote tax avoidance have lost sight of the ethical constraint that they should comply with the intent of the law."

And of course the rest of it is well worth reading.


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