Shocking isn’t it? David Cameron is preparing to warn fellow world leaders at the two-day G7 summit that starts in Germany on Sunday, that the Fifa bribery scandal must be a trigger for international action against corruption.The prime minister will criticise what he will call a widespread “taboo” in pointing the finger at corrupt institutions, and will say the Fifa scandal has shown how focusing on an organisation can provide the impetus for cleaning-up operations. I’m so glad our prime minister has decided to speak up about the sharp practices of Fifa, now that the Americans have beaten us to it.
I hear that Nicky Morgan has even gone so far as to supply him with a ‘Smartboard’ to display his Powerpoint Presentation on, so that as he lectures Europe on ‘transparency’ ‘moral probity’ and ‘business ethics’ he can look every bit as convincing as he sounds (joke!). Seriously though,
“In the last fortnight we have seen the stark truth about Fifa. The body governing football has faced appalling allegations that suggests it is absolutely riddled with corruption. And Blatter’s resignation this week presents an opportunity to clean up the game we love. It is also an opportunity to learn a broader lesson about tackling corruption,” he (the Prime Minister) will say.
The stark truth about Fifa? Kind of like the rancid underskirts of the dark truth about HSBC that we were all exposed to so recently? Now, can anybody remember what that particular truth pertained to? Because I assure you the French authorities can, in March of this year they requested that HSBC’s Swiss private bank be sent to criminal trial over a suspected tax-dodging scheme for wealthy customers.The recommendation followed a lengthy investigation by local magistrates into alleged tax fraud involving 3,000 French taxpayers.
HSBC’s Swiss arm also helped 8,844 wealthy Britons avoid millions of pounds in tax.These allegations of ‘historic’ tax avoidance at the bank related to files leaked by a less than sane whistleblower (he had to be less than sane to have torpedoed his career in this way) dating from 2005 to 2007. France prepped itself to prosecute these fraudsters and our Prime Ministers response was? “The period in question – 2005 to 2007 was not under our watch,the party opposite (Labour) was in Government”.
This ‘truth’ was later proven to have been sort of, kind of a lie. What is more Conservative MPs blocked a parliamentary committee’s attempt to scrutinise the former HSBC boss & (then) trade minister (now, Peer) Lord Stephen Green over the tax scandal at Britain’s largest bank. And what was America’s response to all this patent dishonesty? The US Department of Justice is considering criminal charges against the bank and its clients.
Well, maybe that case was just a glitch on the corruption front so lets examine another more exemplary example of Prime Minister Cameron’s moral probity. Lets look at, ooh, I don’t know…..tax avoidance, tax havens…..and Tory Party Donors!
Now…let’s see, on the top ten list (courtesy of political scrapbook) we have…
#1 Michael Farmer (£818,000) — See our story from yesterday. And bring sunscreen.
#2 Michael Davis (£509,000) — “Mick the miner” trousered £75m when his Xstrata mining company was sold this year. While the company’s registered office is in London, it is headquartered in the Swiss tax haven of Zug. The business which bought out Xstrata, Glencore, is not only based in Zug but also faces allegations of using suspect insurance practices to avoid tax.
#4 David Rowland (£438,000) — A former Conservative Party treasurer, David moved from the tax haven of Guernsey to the UK specifically so he could donate to the Tories.
#6 James Lupton (£255,000) — The current Tory co-treasurer works for Greenhill, through which he is a partner in Greenhill & Co. International LLP alongside the company’s vehicle based in the Cayman Islands. Lupton also holds a stake in Vestra Wealth, which offers its clients advice on “tax-planning vehicles”.
#7 Andrew Law (£247,000) — The chairman and CEO of one of the world’s largest hedge funds, Caxton Associates. One of its main investment vehicles is Caxton International, headquartered in Hamilton, Bermuda.
#8 Stanley Fink (£228,000) — The “godfather of the UK hedge fund industry”, whose Man Group has two principal subsidiaries in Switzerland. The majority of its subsidiaries operate from tax havens.
#9 JCB Research (£187,500) — JCB is owned by digger magnate Anthony Bamford (who had a peerage blocked in 2010 after the taxman raised apparent concerns). This most British of manufacturers is actually controlled by a holding company based in the Hague — Transmissions & Engineering Services Netherlands Bv.
#10 Flowidea Ltd (£144,950) — Controlled by Henry Angest, a critic of the UK’s“punitive tax system”, which may have something to do with the fact that its parent companies seem to be based in Jersey and the Bahamas.
All these guys have donated generously to the Tory Party & all of them are registered in tax havens & are therefore avoiding paying their very United Kingdom taxes. If that doesn’t wreak of corruption it should send up a whiff of dishonesty at least.
The Prime Minister’s response? Well, there hasn’t been one, though I suppose that there will eventually be a peerage or two.
Meanwhile on his next visit to the world stage (G7 Summit), our esteemed Prime Minister will also be discussing England’s role in the the fight with ISIS in Iraq & Syria. Ever the ‘reluctant interventionist’ David Cameron will (apparently) assure President Obama that England intends to remain fully engaged on the global terror front. ISIS will I’m sure be awaiting his first statesman-like foray onto Iraqi soil (even as I await his eventual admission that England has wound up being pulled into the Syrian conflict) with bated breath…..I can’t wait.