Film maker Michael Oswald and TJN’s John Christensen have co-produced a new film about Britain’s tax haven empire. Titled The Spider’s Web: Britain’s Second Empire, the film, which is ready for release, draws heavily on Nick Shaxson’s ground-breaking book Treasure Islands, and uses historical footage to show how for over half a century, successive British governments have put tax havenry at the heart of Britain’s development strategy. In director Michael Oswald’s words:
“After reading “Treasure Islands,” I realized that there was an interesting, coherent and self-contained story that had not been told, the story of Britain’s transformation from a colonial power to a financial power, and the myriad and obscure financial structures created by City of London financial interests that lie at the heart of this transformation.”
For co-producer John Christensen, who has spent his entire career investigating tax havens around the world, London’s role as the epicentre of Britain’s tax haven empire makes it the most harmful offshore financial centre on the planet. As he explains in this extract from his statement on the film website:
“Along the way I spoke with hundreds of bankers, lawyers, accountants, officials from the senior Whitehall departments, at the OECD in Paris, and the IMF in Washington, seeing at first hand the downright criminality of the pinstripe infrastructure of professionals who operate from secrecy jurisdictions like Jersey.
I also discovered that secrecy jurisdictions had moved from being minor players on the economic periphery to becoming the beating core of financial capitalism, with London as its epicentre.”