Lady Green on offshore

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The Guardian reported yesterday (and I have to quote at length):

The wife of retail tycoon Sir Philip Green has defended their use of companies based in tax havens, praising their “strong regulatory regimes”.

Tina Green provided details of what has been described as the “complex web” of companies behind the family’s retail empire in a written response to MPs investigating the collapse of high street retailer BHS.

Lady Green, who is based in Monaco, gave details of 11 companies in which she or her wider family hold the controlling stake, with the majority incorporated in Jersey and the British Virgin Islands. However, she claimed the choice of jurisdiction was not related to the benevolent tax regimes.

“My understanding is that jurisdictions such as Jersey and the British Virgin Islands are commonly preferred for their strong regulatory regimes and well-respected regulators and the size and competence of their professional communities,” she wrote.

What can I say? This sounds like Lady Green has taken advice from Jersey Finance, the state funded PR puff of the Jersey government?

Or maybe she asked for offshore advisers to write this. Who knows? What we can know is that most of them were UK expats.

What we do know is this: that the so called strong regulatory regimes of these places are entirely dependent upon the fact that what they operate is, in effect, a corrupted form of English law that is ultimately backed up by the fact that the Privy Council here in the UK is their Supreme Court. That's the same Supreme Court that we have too.

So, to put it another way, Lady Green opted for the backing and reassurance of UK law, but in a way that suggested she did not want to pay for it.

I'm sorry, but the argument that tax did not come into that decision is just ludicrous. After all, if she'd really wanted sound regulation she could have had that onshore, from the UK.

The boundaries of credibility do sometimes reach their limits.