Don’t let all the talk of tropical islands, foreign dictators and plutocrats distract you from this one fact: the Panama Papers document a very British scandal.
And it’s not just the Prime Minister’s late father in the frame.
Time after time, the names and addresses on the documents of shell companies set up through Mossack Fonseca are of businessmen based in Britain, luxury properties based in London and banks operating out of the City or, in Coutts’ case, the Strand.
The leaks show UK “intermediaries” – that’s largely bankers, accountants and lawyers – commissioned more offshore shell companies from the firm than any other country bar Hong Kong, that favoured secrecy route for cash to be funnelled out of Asia. A mindboggling 2,000 British firms instructed Mossack to create companies for their clients – more than Switzerland and Luxembourg combined. A total of 32,000 shells were created for British clients.And you can also throw in the fact that many of the tax havens are British Overseas Territories or Dependencies.
Apart from talking tough, do you suppose that Osborne will actually do anything to address the problem? No, nor do I ...