Monday, September 08, 2008


We would like to point out that TJN has slowly been building up an archive of quotations, to which new ones are being added all the time. To see the page, which contains nearly 200 quotations so far:


You can use CTRL+F (or the equivalent) to find what you need on that page, or click on the relevant categories to narrow your search.

We list a few choice ones below, selected from random parts of the page:

It is a contradiction to support increased development assistance, yet turn a blind eye to actions by multinationals anothers that undermine the tax base of a developing country. . . . Smaller, poorer countries with tax administrations that are less sophisticated cannot be expected to develop the expertise required to unravel the complex structures that multinationals and other large companies put in place to minimise tax.
- Trevor Manuel, South African Finance Minister, January 2008

A Labour Chancellor will not permit tax reliefs to millionaires in offshore tax havens.
- Gordon Brown, Hansard, 1998

I may like many bankers, but I rather dislike banks. I recognise their necessity, but fear their irresponsibility. Worse, they are irresponsible partly because they know they are necessary. No industry has a comparable talent for privatising gains and socialising losses. Participants in no other industry get as self-righteously angry when public officials – particularly, central bankers – fail to come at once to their rescue when they get into (well-deserved) trouble.
- Martin Wolf, Financial Times, Jan 15, 2008.

It has taken me a long time to understand that there is a connection between colonial powers and corruption. “The United Kingdom has maintained its privileges by allowing British companies to operate from their own tax havens. The expansion in the use of these jurisdictions has a link to decolonisation. It is a modern form of colonialism," she says adding that many of the big tax havens in the world are under British control.
- Eva Joly, the Norwegian-born investigating magistrate who broke open the “Elf Affair” in Paris, regarded as Europe’s largest fraud investigation since the Second World War. Interview carried in Development Today, 2007.

“We feel that this (lack of provision of an effective regulatory system) might be a grave omission, since it is notorious that this particular territory, in common with Bermuda, attracts all sorts of financial wizards, some of whose activities we can well believe should be controlled in the public interest”
Extract from a memorandum concerning the Bahamas dated 3rd November 1961 submitted by Mr W.G.Hulland of the Colonial Office to Mr B.E.Bennett at the Bank of England. From the Bank of England archive.

The accountancy firm Grant Thornton worked out that the UK’s 54 billionaires paid income tax totalling just £14.7m on their £126bn combined fortunes.
- The Guardian, March 2007

The magistrates are like sheriffs in the spaghetti westerns who watch the bandits celebrate on the other side of the Rio Grande... They taunt us—and there is nothing we can do.”
- Eva Joly, furious about how tax havens stonewalled her judicial probes.

The structures are mere pieces of paper with no commercial reality. They are backed by formalities that allow them to pass paper checklists in other jurisdictions including the United States. For example, the island of Nevis, part of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, is home to tens of thousands of corporations, all of which have boards of directors. When banks and brokerage firms ask about the control of the corporation for AML purposes, the person opening the account furnishes the passport photos of the nominee shareholders, officers and directors. The same twenty people are the nominees for thousands of corporations. They have no knowledge of, or fiduciary responsibility for the corporation’s business. If the nominee directors and officers were water-boarded they could not tell you what the corporation was doing or who owned it.
Jack Blum, TJN senior adviser, testifying on trusts and other offshore products before the US Sentate committee on finance, July 24, 2008.

If Swiss banking secrecy were abolished, a large part of Switzerland's private banking business would disappear.
Dr Gunter Woernle, author of Wernlim directory of Swiss private banking, 1997

From this trade proceeds benefits far outweighing all mischiefs and inconveniences.
Quote from a slave trader, cited in William Snelgrave’s book, A New Account of the Slave Trade. Quoted in Raymond Baker, Capitalism’s Achilles Heel, which notes that tax haven operators use the same arguments.

And there are many, many more. It is a work in progress.


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