Moving to the UK, for the very worst reason of all

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The FT has reported that:

Baugur, the Icelandic investment group that owns much of the British high street, could move to the UK in the wake of the conviction on book-keeping offences of executive chairman Jon Asgeir Johannesson.

Lawyers for Baugur, whose sprawling retail portfolio includes House of Fraser and Hamleys in the UK, are investigating whether to redomicile one of Iceland's most famous companies to avoid the possibility of Mr Johannesson's being banned as a company director following the end of a six-year legal battle this month.

Let's be clear about exactly what this says of the UK. It is saying that we have a lax regulatory regime that will allow those unsuitable to trade elsewhere to base their business in the UK.

This morning the Tax Justice Network has published Tax Havens: Creating Turmoil. In it I argue that:

Tax havens are places that create legislation designed to assist persons - real or legal - to avoid the regulatory obligations imposed upon them in the place where they undertake the substance of their economic transactions.

That's what the UK would let happen here if this move were to take place.

That's the very worst reason for allowing a company to move to the UK, and continuing proof if ever it were needed that the tax haven problem begins at home in the case of the UK.