Thailand – the undeniable evidence that tax havens undermine democracy

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The coup in Thailand provides unfortunate but undeniable evidence that tax havens undermine democracy. The coup has been motivated by the hatred of the corruption associated with the Shinawatra government, most amply demonstrated by his own massive abuse of the taxation laws of the country when he sold his shares in the Shin Corporation which, coincidentally made him Thailand's richest man, to a company run by the wide of the Singapore prime minster for $1.8 billion but did so through a British Virgin Islands company called (quite amazingly) Ample Rich Investments Limited. The result was that no tax was paid. For more analysis there is an excellent article in the last edition of Tax Justice Focus(page 4).

This has proved to be the tipping point, but it has needed an army coup to do the tipping. As a result the country has stepped back from democracy, been plunged into uncertainty and economic development in the area will be in doubt for a while, at least. All because of the corruption of offshore.

When will people realise that what accountants, lawyers and bankers do in Jersey, Cayman,, the BVI and the Netherland Antilles is actually as threatening to the stability of our world as the action of any terrorist? After all, when was the last time terrorists actually overthrew a government? Yet here we have evidence that offshore corruption can.

PS What's the betting that the UK will give Shinawatra political asylum whilst he lives here tax free using our domicile laws that are an affront to the world. As the Guardian has noted today, his first port of call after being overthrown was London. Funny that.

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