John Maples MP of Maples and Calder, Cayman

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John Maples MP is in the news. As the Telegraph reports:

In a letter to the fees office in March 2006, Mr Maples, a senior figure within the Tory party who was first elected as an MP in 1983, wrote: “There is an unclaimed balance on my ACA for the current year of £1,364.65 and I attach a form claiming this amount.” He was paid despite failing to submit receipts for these “expenses”. A month later, he wrote again with a list of his anticipated costs for the coming year, adding: “I hope it will therefore be in order for me to claim the maximum of £1,835 p.m without submitting details on each occasion.”

The records also show that the MP regularly submitted claims under his ACA for £260 a month for “utilities”. When told by the fees office that all expenses above a threshold of £250 needed to be accompanied by receipts, Mr Maples began submitting claims for utilities of £240 a month.

But then, Mr Maples may be a man used to finding opportunities for tax free income. He gave his name to the firm of Maples and Calder, of which the Cayman News Service reports:

Maples and Calder, established in Cayman in 1967, is an international law firm specializing in international and offshore law. It is headquartered at Ugland House, which hit the international headlines in 2007 when US Senator Carl Levin announced that there were 12,748 companies registered there. The firm has offices in seven offshore jurisdictions, including Cayman where it employs 102 lawyers;  26 are said to be Caymanian and of those 10 are partners.

Cayman NetNews confirms the link.

Funnily despite Maples and Calder being the biggest firm in Cayman, and despite it having been established by him at the tender age of 24 it appears to get no mention in the biography on his own web site. It also misses Wikipedia by, although not on the Maples and Calder entry.

It might be the case John Maples may have had little to do with this firm for many years, but it’s clear he remains a friend of Cayman (see the Cayman NewNews link).

I ask a simple question though. Is a person who did so much as a consequence of his actions in Cayman the right person to be in the UK parliament? After all Wikipedia says of this firm when he was still with it:

The firm was founded in the early 1960s (the exact timing depends upon which event is used to determine the founding date), just in time to ride the spectacular wave of growth in Cayman's offshore financial sector which was precipitated by the independence of the Bahamas in the 1960s. Jim MacDonald and the then-financial secretary of the Cayman Islands, Vasel Johnson, created much of the Caymanian offshore legislation which attracted the international business.

Jim MacDonald was Maples’ partner in Maples and Calder.

As such Maples seems to have at least some responsibility for creating the secrecy jurisdiction of Cayman. As secrecy jurisdictions are places that intentionally create regulation for the primary benefit and use of those not resident in their geographical domain that is designed to undermine the legislation or regulation of another jurisdiction and that, in addition, create a deliberate, legally backed veil of secrecy that ensures that those from outside the jurisdiction making use of its regulation cannot be identified to be doing so, it might be argued he has a lot to answer for.

At the very least he should update his biography so that people are aware of where he worked as a lawyer. It is simply airbrushed out in almost all written about him, for example on the Conservative's’ own web page.

Which raises another question. Why would you do that if you were proud of what you’d done?