Treasure Islands, By Nicholas Shaxson


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The Independent Culture

This engrossing book about the offshore banking racket, with its eye-opening scrutiny of tax havens and the suited scoundrels who profit from them, will make you think again about the murkier side of the City.

For all his close and shocking attention to the Gabons and Luxembourgs, Caymans and Zurichs, Shaxson leaves us in no doubt that the City forms the belly of this corrupt and crooked beast. Not only do our leaders allow it to act as the best-connected of all the 60-odd "secrecy jurisdictions". It helps to fund and protect many others.

This first-rate forensic work ends with a plea that the closed City "must be abolished and submerged into a... fully democratic London". Which mayoral candidate, now or in the future, will dare sign up to that?