Vintage £8.99 (332pp) £8.54 from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
Treasure Islands, By Nicholas Shaxson
Boyd Tonkin is Senior Writer and a columnist at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Literary Editor at The Independent, and before that Social Policy Editor and then Books Editor at the New Statesman magazine. He has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes and has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize. In 2001, he re-founded the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for literature in translation, and serves on its judging panel every year.
Friday 03 February 2012
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?
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
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