Friday, March 05, 2010

Where is Leeds United football club?

From The Guardian, regards Leeds United, which we have blogged on several occasions before:

"More than 70% of the shares are still owned by FSF, whose address is given as 60 Rue du Rhone in Geneva, the office of Château Fiduciare, the company which administers the fund. FSF was formed and registered in the Cayman Islands from January 2005, but on 31 March last year, was struck off the register.

Peter Boatman, of Château Fiduciaire, who was named last May as a director of FSF, confirmed this week that he has passed the League’s fit and proper person test, which applies to directors and 30% shareholders of clubs. Asked where FSF is now registered since it was in the Cayman Islands, Boatman replied: "I am not allowed to say."

Asked who the shareholders actually are, Boatman replied: "It is not necessary for you to have that information."

The arrogance, which is quite typical of the offshore world in our experience, is absolutely breathtaking. And, as Richard Murphy notes:

"It’s not just we don’t know who FSF is and who owns it. we don’t even know where it is to ask! . . . we don’t even know where it is and therefore who to ask about it. We can’t even prove it is a real company as a result. It may, or may not be."

And there are still people out there who claim that tax havens promote efficient markets.

On a separate matter, Murphy's earlier blog about the British government's inability to say how many "non-domiciled" taxpayers there are asks some more crucial questions. As he says, with echoes of the Leeds United problem,

"How can we have an informed debate on tax without data?"

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