In an ideal world, there would be a legal imposition on banks not to support activities harmful to the mechanisms that allow it to go on existing.
But this isn’t an ideal world. If it was, there would be no Conservative Party, let alone a Conservative Government – to whom the thought of such an imposition would be an unacceptable interference in the free market.
Since Coutts is so keen to bite the hand that feeds, perhaps it should pay back all public money provided to it during the bank bailouts – with interest?
Just don’t expect a Conservative to make that demand.
The taxpayer bailouts of the banks have had dire consequences for the country.
But while we’ve been enduring austerity, the super-rich have been squirreling their money away in tax havens.
Now it turns out that one of the top banks helping them to do that, Coutts, is indirectly owned by the very taxpayers it is ripping off.
Coutts has been named in the Panama Papers as one of the worst offenders when it comes to helping the super-rich use offshore havens to avoid paying taxes.
The private bank, which counts the Queen among its customers, instructed Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca to set up 487 shell companies to help its clients avoid paying taxes, according to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
That puts it among the ‘top ten’ banks implicated in the biggest data leak in history.
You might think this is all par for the course for a private bank serving the country’s elite. But the Coutts division in question is a subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Scotland – and RBS is 73% owned by British taxpayers after we bailed it out.
So, while taxpayers bear the brunt of the bank bailouts and austerity, a bank that benefited from that bailout has been busy helping Britain’s super-rich to avoid paying taxes.
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