Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men Who Stole the World
Billionaire Warren Buffet, currently the third wealthiest man in the world, paid the lowest rate of tax among his office staff, including his receptionist. In 2006 the world's three biggest banana companies did nearly GBP400 million worth of business in Britain but paid just GBP128,000 in tax between them. In January 2009, US law enforcement fined Lloyds TSB $350 million after it admitted secretly channelling Iranian and Sudanese money into the US banking system. Tax havens are the most important single reason why poor people and poor countries stay poor. They lie at the very heart of the global economy, with over half the world trade processed through them. They have been instrumental in nearly every major economic event, in every big financial scandal, and in every financial crisis since the 1970s, including the latest global economic downturn. In Treasure Islands, Nicholas Shaxson shows how this happened, and what this means for you.
This is the ugliest chapter in global economic affairs since slavery - and secretive offshore tax havens are at the heart of the trouble.
"An utterly superb book" -- Jeffrey Sachs "Shaxson combines meticulous research with amusing anecdotes, resulting in a very readable account of the murky world of offshore and a strong moral message that the system needs to be changed" Financial Times "Excellent... Shaxson comes as close as anyone ever has in getting the crux of the tax haven conundrum, which is to attempt to answer the question: why are they tolerated? - Evening Standard" Evening Standard "A fascinating, chilling book" -- Paul Krugman "Not just a crucial expose of the corrupt systems endemic in the global economy, but also a rousing call to do something about them" -- Holly Kyte Sunday Telegraph
Nicholas Shaxson is the author of Poisoned Wells, the Dirty Politics of African Oil, an Associate Fellow of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) and an experienced journalist.