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Must Read: Nicholas Shaxson’s Vanity Fair Article on the City of London

March 13, 2013

By EJ Fagan

EJ Fagan was New Media Coordinator for the FTC from 2011-2013. He is now Deputy Communications Director for Global Financial Integrity. You can follow him on Twitter @ejfagan.

flickr / Thoma de Leeuw

If you only read one thing today, this article should be it. Nicholas Shaxson, author of Treasure Islands and member of Task Force member Task Justice Network, published his stirring, mammoth article on the City of London in Vanity Fair today. London is not only a major nexus of global finance, but also one of the central points in the global shadow financial system, where criminals, corrupt public officials, and tax evaders eventually plant their hidden wealth.

The piece speaks for itself:

The really curious aspect of One Hyde Park can be appreciated only at night. Walk past the complex then and you notice nearly every window is dark. As John Arlidge wrote in The Sunday Times, “It’s dark. Not just a bit dark—darker, say, than the surrounding buildings—but black dark. Only the odd light is on. . . . Seems like nobody’s home.”

That’s not because the apartments haven’t sold. London land-registry records say that 76 had been by January 2013 for a total of $2.7 billion—but, of these, only 12 were registered in the names of warm-blooded humans, including Christian Candy, in a sixth-floor penthouse. The remaining 64 are held in the names of unfamiliar corporations: three based in London; one, called One Unique L.L.C., in California; and one, Smooth E Co., in Thailand. The other 59—with such names as Giant Bloom International Limited, Rose of Sharon 7 Limited, and Stag Holdings Limited—belong to corporations registered in well-known offshore tax havens, such as the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Liechtenstein, and the Isle of Man.

From this we can conclude at least two things with certainty about the tenants of One Hyde Park: they are extremely wealthy, and most of them don’t want you to know who they are and how they got their money.

Read the full article here.

AttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by Thomas de Leeuw

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Disclaimer: Unless specifically stated to be the views of the Financial Transparency Coalition, the opinions expressed on this blog are solely the opinions of the individual blogger and are not necessarily those of the Financial Transparency Coalition.

  • Bill Ellson

    One Hyde Park is in the City of Westminster, not the City of London, and most of the article is simply a re-hash of specultion regarding the owners of the flats that has appeared elewhere. Added to which is Shaxson’s usual conspiracy theorist nonsense about the City of London Corporation.

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