Let me make this perfectly clear: I have never asked Mossack Fonseca of Panama to set up a company for me in the British Virgin Islands or anywhere else. At least I don’t think I have: I mean, who reads the small print of all that boring paperwork from wealth managers and accountants these days? Among 11 million leaked Mossack Fonseca documents, we will probably all find our own names somewhere, plus those of Elvis and Lord Lucan.
Even so — and leaving aside, for today, the morality of offshore tax structures — we can admire the breadth of the Panamanian law firm’s client list, stretching as it reportedly does from ‘senior Tory peers’ and a cousin of Bashar al-Assad to the brother-in-law of the Chinese president and the friends of Vladimir Putin. With reach and marketing skills like that, founding partners Ramon Fonseca and German-born Jurgen Mossack ought to be hired to recruit high-profile endorsements for the ‘Vote Leave’ campaign.
This is an extract from Martin Vander Weyer’s AOB column in this week’s magazine.