Labour Research May 2012


Treasure islands

Tax havens and the men who stole the world

Nicholas Shaxson, Vintage, 352 pages, paperback, £8.99

Now available in paperback, this is a book about the world financial markets that reads like a thriller.

With a broad historical sweep that entangles cocaine barons in Colombia with Tory peers in the UK, the mafia with the Bank of England, and uncovers Nazi gold nestled next to establishment money in Swiss bank accounts, Treasure Islands undercuts much of the hypocrisy surrounding the issues.

No part of the global ruling class is outside this corrupt system. Shaxson recounts how US president Barack Obama complained about a building in the Caymans which houses over 12,000 corporations — to which a Cayman bank representative pointed him in the direction of a building in Delaware that contains 217,000.

This is one of the ugliest chapters in global economic affairs since slavery — and secretive offshore tax havens are at the heart of the trouble.

The book focuses on these corrupt tax regimes and provides proof of a system rotten to the very core.

Reviews contributed by the Bookmarks socialist bookshop. Order online at