Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

May 02 2013

The capture of tax haven Ireland: “the bankers, hedge funds got virtually everything they wanted”

Posted by: Nick Shaxson in: Thoughts

The Financial Times is carrying an important and fascinating story about the tax haven of Ireland. It focuses on a particular issue which is dear to my heart, and the subject of a whole chapter of Treasure Islands.

This is, at heart, a story about how small financial centres become entirely ‘captured’ by financial services interests, with the deliberate removal …

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Apr 18 2013

Heard that countries should ‘compete’ on tax? Wrong

Posted by: Nick Shaxson in: Thoughts

Updated: the longer article is now available, here.

An article on tax competition in The Guardian, co-authored by Ellie Mae O’Hagan and me.

It’s subtitled “Tax ‘competition’ – in which countries fight to lower taxes – not only hits the poor, it doesn’t even help the economy grow.”

Which is exactly right. Our article starts like this:


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Apr 12 2013

A way to help pay for Cyprus’ bailout?

Posted by: Nick Shaxson in: Thoughts

From the excellent series of reports on Cyprus’ richest man, John Fredriksen, in Norway’s Dagens Næringsliv (DN.NO – see my earlier blog on this, which I think explains a lot of things about Cyprus that has eluded the large majority of the world’s media).

Norwegian-born Fredriksen is a shipping tycoon whom Forbes described as “King of the tanker …

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Apr 09 2013

This, from Tanzania, is pleasing

Posted by: Nick Shaxson in: Thoughts

A tweet from Zitto Zuberi Kabwe, Tanzanian opposition member and shadow finance minister:

The tweet kind of speaks for itself.

Tanzania does have a capital gains tax, and certainly does “deserve” it, though the government has been in court to try and levy it on the Mantra transaction, which concerns a uranium mine. As Bloomberg noted last year:


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Apr 07 2013

What the company registry in Cyprus tax haven actually looks like

Posted by: Nick Shaxson in: Thoughts

Courtesy of the Norwegian Business Daily Dagens Næringsliv (, with thanks to David Officer for the tip, we have this remarkable photograph of the Cyprus company registry. A rough web translation of the caption reads:

“PAPER JUNGLE. The employees at the company inspection register of Cyprus, drowning in documents that should have been public.”

The story explains exactly what I …

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Apr 03 2013

For Cyprus, the tax haven apologists are out in force

Posted by: Nick Shaxson in: Thoughts

Cross-posted from a blog I just wrote for the Tax Justice Network:

The Moscow Times is carrying a remarkable piece entitled After Cyprus Bath, Russia Needs New Haven, which contains the following:

“Their critics blame offshore financial centers for a variety of ills. For example, they help corrupt businesspeople and bureaucrats launder profits from illegal activities, and they make

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Mar 28 2013

Cyprus: Hot Russian money isn’t necessarily going where you think

Posted by: Nick Shaxson in: Thoughts

During this discussion with Reuters television the interviewee, my favourite author, displays masterful control of a hacking cough. And some stuff about tax havens too. Original here.

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Mar 25 2013

Cyprus: what the world’s media has missed

Posted by: Nick Shaxson in: Thoughts

March 26: slightly updated, with fresh quotes and modified commentary, upon reflection. From the Tax Justice blog.

Many people have been asking us about Cyprus. Its tax haven status is central to the drama that has seen big depositors there stand to suffer large losses, while small depositors holding amounts below 100,000 Euros, who had previously been threatened with a …

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Mar 22 2013

Treasure Island Trauma: Cyprus

Posted by: Nick Shaxson in: Thoughts

I do like the start to Paul Krugman’s latest New York Times column, which begins as follows:

“A couple of years ago, the journalist Nicholas Shaxson published a fascinating, chilling book titled “Treasure Islands,” which explained how international tax havens — which are also, as the author pointed out, “secrecy jurisdictions” where many rules don’t apply — undermine economies

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Mar 13 2013

My Vanity Fair article on London: now online in full

Posted by: Nick Shaxson in: Thoughts

I recently trailed a short online summary of my latest article on London in Vanity Fair. The full long version – rather different, I think you’ll find, from what was originally trailed – is now available online.


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