Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ashcroft's Nauru questions

Lord Ashcroft, one of the most powerful people in British politics and prominently involved with tax havens, has been asking questions in parliament about the tiny island of Nauru - see these questions on December 1, November 4th, and November 10 (with an additional query thrown in about Tuvalu.)

Why the interest in these islands? And why this special focus on Nauru, an island with a rather, ahem, colourful past, as this 2004 Global Witness report highlights in entertaining detail (though that was nothing whatsoever to do with Ashcroft.)

The always excellent In the City column in Britain's Private Eye newspaper, which alerted us to this, notes that:

"He has previously and more obviously asked questions about Belize and the Turks & Caicos Islands, both part of the Ashcroft tax haven empire's tax haven collection.

Ashcroft is increasingly unpopular among the ingrates of Belize, while the Turks & Caicos are under Whitehall rule after corruption allegations washed away the local government.

But surely Ashcroft, that great Tory (Conservative Party) benefactor, is not looking for a new outpost from which to conduct tax-free business?"

Ashcroft has declined so far to issue a public statement about his tax affairs, although Conservative Party leader David Cameron has pledged not to let anyone sit in parliament if they are not "a full taxpayer."


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