Review by Mathew D. Rose and David Shirreff on braveneweurope.com
Should you be having difficulties making sense of the “Paradise Papers” or simply not know much about tax havens, then Michael Oswald’s documentary film “The Spider’s Web: Britain’s second empire” is the ideal place to begin. The film, which premiered just a few months ago, tells the story of how tax havens came into existence, how and what they do, and why, despite their socially destructive business model, they continue to thrive.
The narrative begins after World War II when the United Kingdom loses its colonies. The City of London, once the financial heart of the British Empire, finding its existence threatened by the dissolution of empire, transforms itself into a global financial centre. Using some of Britain’s remaining territories, especially small islands in the Caribbean; the City establishes offshore secrecy jurisdictions, where money can be surreptitiously deposited before flowing to the City of London. The tax havens became magnets for dirty money, be it from drugs, corruption, or tax evasion, to name a few. The film explains the magic of the financial trust, which allows beneficiaries to be hidden from public view.
Screening The Spider's Web at the Investigative Film Festival Skopje on the 5th of November 2017