September 24, 2020

Nick Shaxson hits back at Chairman of Cayman Islands Stock Exchange

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Nick Shaxson

Nicholas Shaxson, whose book “Treasure Islands” caused a furor here and was rightly blasted by Anthony Travers, Chairman of the Cayman Stock Exchange, has sent out a blog on his treasureislands.org website that is currently doing the web rounds. This is what he says:

Yesterday (21) I finally met Mr. Angry of the Cayman Islands, a.k.a. Anthony Travers OBE, currently chairman of the Cayman Islands stock exchange. He has been leading a one-man protest movement against Treasure Islands for quite some time, and we had a debate at a trusts conference in Geneva yesterday.

I think that he had hoped to give me and my friend and co-speaker Alex Cobham a good kicking in front of a home crowd, but that didn’t happen at all: rather the opposite, I feel. Immediately afterwards, I went up to Travers and tried to shake his hand, twice. He refused each time, declaring that “I am not your friend Mr. Shaxson, and I don’t actually like you.”

Fair enough, and hardly surprising I guess.  I told him he was rather unsporting, and left it at that.

Anthony Travers, Chairman of the Cayman Stock Exchange

Travers is actually a really good speaker, with wonderful turns of phrase: one of the many straw men he put up there was that people like me were angling for a “uniform worldwide tax rate overseen by a globally omnipotent Mad Hatter” – which, while being nothing like anything I or any of my colleagues have said, is  pretty funny.

He said that those worried about tax avoidance were from the ‘extreme political left’ which puts him in an interesting position on the spectrum, given that Britain’s Conservative Prime Minister just a few hours earlier had called an aggressive Jersey-based tax avoidance by the comedian Jimmy Carr ‘morally wrong,’ and his Chancellor, George Osborne, earlier described aggressive tax avoidance “morally repugnant.” Rupert Murdoch’s Times newspaper did so too.

Which, I think, all goes to show the point about the leaders of offshore typically being on the extreme right of the political spectrum. As I say in Treasure Islands:

“Offshore attitudes are characterised by amazing similarities of argument, of approach and of method, and some striking psychological affinities in a geographically diverse but like-minded global cultural community. A peculiar mixture of characters populates this world: castle-owning members of ancient continental European aristocracies, fanatical supporters of American libertarian writer Ayn Rand, members of the world’s intelligence services, global criminals, British public schoolboys, assorted lords and ladies and bankers galore. Its bugbears are government, laws and taxes, and its slogan is freedom.”

On the evidence of yesterday, much of this could have been written about my friend Mr. Travers, though in his favour he did press the point about how it is important to follow the law.

Anyway, it was a good event, and I can only praise the organisers of the conference for bringing in two ‘hostiles’ to challenge them.

P.S. I left my notes on the train, so these quotes are from memory: but I think pretty close to the originals.

For more go to:

http://treasureislands.org/debate-me-vs-mr-angry-of-the-cayman-islands/

As you can read, his blog actually tells you nothing about the debate except to infer viz. “I think that he had hoped to give me and my friend and co-speaker Alex Cobham a good kicking in front of a home crowd, but that didn’t happen at all: rather the opposite, I feel.”

Hmm. He feels. That is not evidence at all Mr. Shaxson. He then does the classic put down by praising someone but actually saying the opposite so that he can say “see, I applauded him” when he didn’t. See this: “Travers is actually a really good speaker, with wonderful turns of phrase: one of the many straw men he put up there was that people like me were angling for a “uniform worldwide tax rate overseen by a globally omnipotent Mad Hatter” – which, while being nothing like anything I or any of my colleagues have said, is  pretty funny.”

And as Nick is such a charmer he tried to shake Anthony’s hand – TWICE!! But it was refused. Oh, yes and Nick said nicely he (tTavers) was rather unsporting.

And blazed across his website is two copies of his book “Treasure Islands” (US Edition and UK Edition) with a quote from Jeffrey Sachs “An utterly superb book”.

Quite frankly, Mr. Shaxson, with your “Mr. Angry” name for Mr. Travers I have an equally childish name for you – oh – that’s what it is, “Mr. Childish.”

Oh blast. How sporting of me – all this is giving you publicity for a typically sensational and inaccurate book that I have read. (I didn’t buy it, though.)

 

 

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