Well worth, as a good (but depressing) read.
On 12th July, the Guardian published an article saying that the years since 2008 have seen a global crackdown on offshore finance. Yet a few places have doubled down on offering secrecy to the super-rich. Among these, one tiny Caribbean island might be the worst offender. Nevis, with a population of just 11,000, has been implicated in some of the worst financial scams of modern times, from the UK’s biggest-ever tax fraud to the fleecing of 620,000 vulnerable Americans in a $220 million payday loan scam. The story of Nevis, it says, reveals the difficulties the world faces in trying to put an end to tax evasion, fraud and kleptocracy. It says that Nevis specialises in letting its clients create corporations with greater anonymity than almost anywhere else on earth. Last year, information on 70,000 Nevisian companies was leaked as part of the Paradise Papers investigation, but that did not help one find out who owns them: ownership information is so secret there that even the island’s own corporate registry doesn’t know. In other words, there was nothing substantial to leak. While the BVI has seen the number of companies created there each year collapse, the number created in Nevis has stayed stable and since 2012, the island’s financial services sector has grown by more than a quarter. The article traces the story back to 1984, when Bill Barnard, an American lawyer who had taken to vacationing on Nevis, asked the island’s premier if he would be interested in getting into the offshore game. Barnard and his team of US lawyers had borrowed their legislation from Delaware. Barnard’s monopoly expired in 1994. It says that Nevis-controlled but British-registered companies, whose ownership is unclear, have been involved in many of the massive eastern European money-laundering scams.