Offshore corruption exists. The veil of secrecy that it provides - that lead to me describing these places as secrecy jurisdictions - is designed to hide abuse, whether of tax law, regulation, creditors, partners and other people - or to facilitate crime. It has no other real purpose anyone has ever successfully explained.
Which makes the Guardian / BBC reports on the issue important for bringing this into the open. As the Guardian notes tonight:
Staff at agencies that set up companies in the UK and abroad have been filmed undercover, making it clear that nominee directors are regularly used as shams.
The startling footage is from a parallel investigation by BBC Panorama, to be broadcast late Monday.
In one section, an undercover reporter told James Turner of York-based Turner Little: "I've got this money in a Swiss bank and I haven't paid the tax on it. So what I need to do is get it out of there."
Turner suggested an offshore structure with a foundation in Belize: "It doesn't link back to you, it doesn't link back to your family. So it gives you complete confidentiality."
Nominee directors would be used, he said, because "they don't know who you are, they've never heard of you … They won't even know that they are a director, they just get paid … We have a stamp of the nominees' signatures. Which is kept in my safe. So the nominee never sees any paperwork at all."
And I know that the usual story that this is just the case of a 'rotten apple' will be rolled out.
Except it isn't. This is a rotten apple in a rotten orchard planted to obscure the truth that behind the trees there's corruption taking place.