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Tax haven expert acts as adviser on BBC film about Cayman Islands

Professor Ronen Palan helped produce Britain’s Trillion Pound Paradise – Inside Cayman

by Ed Grover (Senior Communications Officer)

Tax haven expert Professor Ronen Palan acted as an adviser for a new BBC documentary about tax avoidance on the Cayman Islands.

The academic helped to review the programme’s script, advised on responses the documentary received from UK companies and ensured that facts and figures were correct.

The programme, Britain’s Trillion Pound Paradise – Inside Cayman, was shown on BBC Two at 9pm, on Friday 22nd January 2016.

Professor Palan, of the Department of International Politics at City, said: “The Cayman Islands is a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean, comprising three islands with a population of about 55,000, of which 25,000 are expats.

“Yet Cayman is judged to be the fourth or fifth largest financial centre in the world, more or less, competing with Frankfurt and Tokyo, while being much larger than Shanghai.

“Despite, or because of its success, the Cayman Islands government was reportedly close to bankruptcy in 2009 and sought a UK government bail-out. How come? The territory has been so successful by removing practically all forms of taxation. Its offshore economy is booming, but many people on the island are poor.

“The Cayman Islands is not an independent state, it is a British overseas jurisdiction. The programme shows that despite claims for independence, the success of Cayman and its continuing function as a tax haven is encouraged and supported by successive British governments.”

The BBC Two documentary follows presenter Jacques Peretti as he aims to discover the truth about the islands. According to the BBC, the filmmakers were given “unprecedented access” to the Cayman Islands' politicians and financiers, as well as its millionaire residents and ordinary British expats.

Ronen Palan is a Professor of International Politics and has published two books tax havens: Tax Havens: How Globalization Really Works (with Richard Murphy and Christian Chavagneux); and The Offshore World.

Watch a clip of the documentary, Britain’s Trillion Pound Paradise – Inside Cayman

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