Stealing other people’s taxes

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Yet more evidence has come to light that the UK's Crown Dependencies' main role in life is to steal tax revenue that rightfully belongs to other states.

This time the Manhattan District Attorney, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are jointly probing a tax-shelter plan run out of the Isle of Man.

As was first reported in 2005, the investigating bodies believed that up to $100m (£55m) of tax was saved through one scheme alone, and as much as $700m in taxes may have been avoided over an 11-year period. Today the Wall Street Journal has also added its weight to the story (but you'll have to pay for that).

The scheme is alleged to have been created by the Bank of America. The beneficiaries were Texan billionaire brothers, Charles and Sam Wyly who between them gave over $200,000 to President Bush's re-election campaigns, and also bankrolled TV adverts attacking his rivals, John Kerry and Senator John McCain.

No surprise there then.