Monday 4 April 2016

Oh We're In The Money

No sooner had I put up a post, 1st April, "Back To The Land", what seemed to be an improbable tale about poor and old grannie pensioners propping up a complicated structure of companies that go back to The Cayman Islands, a tax haven, than a documents leak from one of its neighbours hits the web.

This one is much bigger and more interesting to the main media as it involves top people in many places.  The Mossack Fonseca Panama caper is nothing new.  It has been around a long time and it has many parallels elsewhere.  That David Cameron is involved via his family is par for the course.

A few years back when the Euro currency was created, I recall trying to explain to some Swiss bankers, over lunch in a tax haven, that it had basic flaws.  My interest in the history of money, especially major busts, led me to this view for the simple reason if it has happened before a few times it can happen again.

Sadly, their bank has gone bust, leaving me with the smirk on my face but at least I am still in credit having ignored their opinion.  All their customers are not.  There are many questions about Panama but how many answers we shall get may be rather less.  One minor matter may or may not be connected.

That is the British Steel business presenting the government with one of those "no right decisions" problems.  It does seem to be having a lot of them these days.

A major financial issue is the pensions fund involved.  While the government is knocking many private and public pensioners for the sake of the future it is being asked to fully protect the British Steel pensions fund which has run up a massive deficit and is a major liability.

But this fund will have investments and those will be a variety of fields.  Is some of this involved in Panama based investments and is some of it in the same things as the Cameron family investments?  Answers please on the back of your latest tax demand to 11 Downing Street.

Like the British Steel crisis and so many others, the Panama leak has been coming for a long time.  Our short term politicians whose first thoughts are for their own investment funds and second for their friends and third for massaging the media and fourth for keeping it all very quiet, now invariably fail to see or remotely understand the world we are living in or how it really works.

Meanwhile grannie wonders if she can any longer afford the stamps to send out the family birthday and Christmas cards.

Try this three minutes from the mid 1970's, a green group called Steeleye Span singing a folk type song.  It might settle the nerves.



  1. Panama is a very iffy place - but exciting. Must be even worse now. Anything could happen there and probably does. We were there several years back - oddly enough police on pedal bikes with machine guns on their backs in the fascinating historical Old city can make you feel strangely safe (narrow alleys and teeny roads). We also had a nice 'minder'. Most local people we met were normal and friendly. We were told at that time real Panama hats were actually made in Nicaragua and shipped through Panama.

  2. Apologies - it's Ecuador.

  3. In a wired up world major leaks appear to have become more common. Everything leaks, private information, skeletons in closets, secret government briefings, money. It's become a leaky old world.