This is what I wrote on the Financial Times website:
“Surprise, surprise! We are discovering now that major banks might be doing dodgy things in British Overseas Territories. Who would have thought it? Before everyone gloats about the demise of DB, let’s wait to see if ‘justice’ is applied equally across all banks, including those in the UK that open accounts for offshore entities. Or is that a naive, unrealistic and above all unpatriotic wish?”
This comment received 46 recommends which is enormous by FT standards. It also received 2 incomprehensible negative and anonymous comments to which I replied, but have so far received no response. It is somewhat amazing, and possibly suspicious, that those two people reacted with such venom, but, until they bother to reply, that is their problem. To be fair, they also had a number of people recommending their comments.
I find it incomprehensible and obviously hypocritical that we accept attacks on off-shore jurisdictions and foreign banks without criticising British territories or the islands or UK-based banks that provide support for them. We know what the primary activities of off-shore financial centres are about: tax optimisation, asset protection and confidentiality. It is to be incredibly naive or deliberately blind to deny this. Now, given my background, I can honestly say that I do not necessarily think that those three activities are reprehensible. What is reprehensible is to assume that only foreigners would do anything reprehensible. Bankers that might otherwise hold very liberal views suddenly become xenophobic!
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