It could only happen in Jersey

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Earlier this year an accountant in Jersey was found guilty of money laundering £27 million. Let's be clear: Peter Michel was no big time player, and he did work pretty much alone. A perfect target for prosecution therefore.

But now he's appealed, and the grounds for his appeal could only have arisen in Jersey. He is claiming that the Judge who heard his case, Sir Geoffrey Nice was biased because he didn't like tax havens. According to a recent Jersey Evening Post report (sorry, as ever with them, no web link):

Advocate Le Quesne (defending) said there was a possibility of unfairness of a trial of someone in a tax haven if the judge did not have a high opinion of tax havens.

He added:

The judge appears to have demonstrated his view of offshore finance centres and his view of those who operate in offshore finance centres. It was quite clear that the judge was unhappy with the concept of anybody doing anything other than paying whatever tax is due of them - even tax avoidance appears to be something the judge disliked.

This is, of course, profoundly shocking in Jersey. The judge, I should add, is British.

So, no doubt Mr Michel will do well on appeal. A Jersey judge is presiding.

Mind you, Mr Michel's claim that Jurat Philip John de Veulle OBE, the Lieutenant Bailiff and therefore second highest judge in the Island had, like him, been known to fly to London with a suitcase of cash for a client may not have helped his cause. Judge's do have a habit of defending each other. Maybe that's why he had to withdraw the allegation. Still, it's an interesting one to muse an idle moment upon.