Much of what was discussed at the conference I attended in Norway last week will not benefit from publicity, and anyway discretion was requested and Chatham House rules applied. But to put this blog in context, the group I addressed was largely made up of senior prosecuting lawyers involved in tackling corruption. They came from around the world.
One was possible the bravest man I've ever met. From an African country, he described the real success his country is having in tackling corruption. Then he said, rather quietly, that:
We've lost come colleagues in the last year.
I mean, they were killed.
The risk that these people take to pursue corruption is staggering. They know that they might pay the ultimate sacrifice to make their countries fairer, more democratic places. I am in awe of his courage. It was a privilege to meet him. It inspired me to continue tackling abuse in my own somewhat more modest way.
Those who work in tax havens should understand the pernicious trade they pursue. Without their services (right down to those in admin roles who fail to ask appropriate questions of the activity they undertake) the corruption these people tackle would be 100 times harder to commit, and this courage and this sacrifice would not be required.
Now do you see why another person attending the conference thought tax havens are evil?